Ferguson quick to quell his two Red rebels

ALEX FERGUSON might be closing in on yet another Premier League title, but the Manchester United manager was forced on to the defensive last night after public displays of rebellion from Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Tevez, who has grown increasingly frustrated at failing to secure a regular starting place in Ferguson’s plans, indicated in a tabloid newspaper interview yesterday that he will leave Old Trafford when his two-year loan expires in the summer.

The South American marked only his 17th league start of the campaign by scoring in the 2-0 derby win over Manchester City.

He celebrated by running to the main stand, close to where Ferguson was seated, and cupping his ears as the crowd chanted: ‘‘Fergie, Fergie sign him up.’’

Yet the United manager refused to go into detail about the future of the player, who has now scored 14 times this season.

He insisted he had no problem with the way Tevez celebrated but when asked when there would be clarification about Tevez’s future, Ferguson snapped: ‘‘I’m not going into that at all.’’

Later, he added: “Nothing has changed. He’s a Manchester United player. The fans love him because they love triers. When players try then fans will always take to that. As long as he keeps scoring, I’ll have no problems with that.’’

Ferguson also denied he had taken issue with Ronaldo, who set United on their way to a sixth successive league win by opening the scoring with another free-kick, but then responded mutinously to being substituted in the second half.

The Portugal winger left the field shaking his head and continued his sulk on the bench, where television pictures appeared to show him swearing under his breath.

“You know what he’s like, he wanted to stay on,’’ insisted Ferguson. “He’s in great form but I’m looking at the bigger picture. It was an incredible performance from him last Tuesday at Arsenal in the Champions League.’’

United can clinch a record-equalling 18th title at home to Arsenal next Saturday.

They require four points from the remaining three games away to mid-table Wigan on Wednesday, where they won the league last season, Arsenal on Saturday and then at struggling Hull on May 24.

But Ferguson is refusing to take anything for granted after his side restored their three point advantage at the top of the table.

“Wigan will be a hard game,’’ added the Scot. “We’ve only got three days to prepare. We’ll freshen the team up again.’’

Ferguson opted against risking Rio Ferdinand after the England defender suffered a calf injury on the eve of the match.

But the United manager confirmed that the injury was not serious and that the player could be back at Wigan.

“I rested two or three players today and (I’ll) maybe bring Rio Ferdinand back,’’ said Ferguson.

“We’ll make two or three changes because we need to do that. I’ve got a big squad so i’m going to use it.’’

Darren Fletcher, meanwhile, admits he is resigned to missing the Champions League final, despite United appealing the red card he received against Arsenal in last week’s semi-final win over Arsenal.

UEFA will meet today to discuss United’s request to rescind the red card Fletcher received from Italian referee Roberto Rosetti for a foul on Cesc Fabregas, after TV replays showed the Scotland international played the ball before sending the Arsenal skipper flying inside the penalty area.

“I don’t want to get my hopes up because I don’t want to be disappointed,” Fletcher said.

“I can’t let what happened affect me. We still have the Premier League to win. That is what all my focus and concentration is on right now, not the Champions League final.’’

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