Fergie laughs off Rafa comments

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Sir Alex Ferguson has cheekily responded to Rafael Benitez's growing criticism of him by declaring - 'I didn't know you cared.'

After Benitez's astounding rant during the Christmas period, which seemed to backfire on the Spaniard until Liverpool's stunning win at Old Trafford last month, the Anfield chief launched a fresh attack on Tuesday. Benitez claimed Ferguson was running scared of his team and had been perfectly civil towards him until Liverpool started to become a threat.

Yet again Ferguson has refused to get drawn into an outright war of words but said: "The interesting thing as far as Rafa Benitez is concerned is that he has got a European tie coming up and he is talking about Alex Ferguson. That's fantastic. I didn't know I was that important."

Asked another question about Benitez, Ferguson smiled and said simply: "I have no further comment to make."

It appeared Benitez's latest sideswipe came as a result of Ferguson talking about Liverpool in public.

Yet, as the Scot pointed out, responding to questions about rival teams tends to come with the territory as a top Premier League boss.

"If you ask me a question about other teams, I give you an opinion," said Ferguson.

"(Arsenal boss) Arsene Wenger was talking about Manchester United a couple of weeks ago.

"He was asked a question and I had to dampen down what he said - that United were the new untouchables - because I knew all the dangers of it.

"But it was a fair answer at the time, given the way people looked at our club a few weeks ago."

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