Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says that although it will be difficult, he will be making cuts, possibly this summer, to players who over past seasons have meant a lot to the club.
"It is a horrible thing to say but you cannot be sentimental in this job," Ferguson said.
"I love the players that I've had and I've been very, very fortunate to have had great players who have come through my career with me.
"All of the players I have had here have played a part in my success so when I see something happening - as in the cases of Nicky Butt and Phil Neville - I have had to release them to other opportunities.”
Ferguson revealed that in the cases of Neville and Butt, he felt that their contributions to Manchester United made leaving them out of the first squad all the more difficult.
"It was getting to the stage where I was terrified of talking to them and telling them they weren't playing.
“It wasn't fair to them because they had played a big part in the resurrection of Manchester United.
“When the time came for me to let them go, I knew I was cutting really important, loyal strings and I didn't enjoy it."
Ferguson says that while off the pitch, emotions can easily come into play, the moment he steps on the pitch he puts Manchester United’s future first.
"My job is to manage United and to produce results and I am no different to any other manager. I will not be regarded in the same way if I am not successful,” the 69 year old said.
"Everything to do with me is black and white. If it's on the football field and I see something that I feel is a retrograde step for the club, I have to act and make decisions.”
With Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs nearing retirement, and speculation surrounding the futures of Michael Carrick, Wes Brown, Dimitar Berbatov, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen, should Ferguson decide to make the necessary trimmings, Manchester United look set for a complete overhaul this summer, even with their success so far this season.
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