Sir Alex Ferguson has hit back at claims made by Patrick Vieira earlier this week that desperation was the reason behind Paul Scholes decision to come out of retirement to play for Manchester United this season.
The former Arsenal midfielder, now football development executive at title rivals Manchester City, insisted the only reason behind Scholes’s shock return was because United were desperately short of options in midfield, before suggesting it highlighted a ‘weakness’ in Ferguson’s squad.
The Frenchman also added fuel to the fire by suggesting that Scholes was forced back into action because United were struggling to keep hold of their talented young players, including Ravel Morrison who signed for West Ham in January and Paul Pogba, who has been heavily linked with a move away from the north-west.
However Ferguson has laughed off Vieira’s claims ahead of United’s game against Fulham on Monday, adding that he believes it is all part of Manchester City’s mind games ahead of the title run-in.
"If it’s desperation, bringing the best midfielder in Britain for the last 20 years back, then I think we can accept that," Ferguson told reporters at a press conference.
"I think he was programmed for that. Roberto [Mancini] had a wee dig a couple of weeks back. We’re all going to play our hand that way. There will be plenty of ammunition for that [any mind games].
"I think the point he makes about Ravel Morrison and losing our young players – we wanted to sell him, let’s be clear about that, for obvious reasons. But we want Pogba to stay,” he added.
The Scot also went on the offensive, and claimed that Vieira’s comments on Scholes smacked of hypocrisy after Carlos Tevez was welcomed back at the Etihad Stadium despite his five months of refusing to play for the club.
"If you talk about desperation, they played a player [Carlos Tevez] the other night who refused to go on the pitch and the manager said he’d never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in Argentina…what is that?“
“Could that come under the description of desperation? There will be plenty of ammunition don’t worry."