Sir Alex Ferguson has praised Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini for his ''strong management'' in dealing with Carlos Tevez' apparent refusal to play in midweek.
Ferguson would not speak directly about Tevez, a former player at the club, but said Mancini had handled the incident well.
Ferguson told a news conference: ''I think that Roberto Mancini has come out and shown his strength of character, his strength of management and I think that is important.
''We have all experienced our own difficulties in management and you cope with it as best as you can. In my own experience strong management is important and there is nobody more important than the manager at a football club.''
Mancini appeared at his usual Friday press conference but beforehand City's chief communications officer Victoria Kloss read out a statement in which she said the briefing will be suspended if Mancini was asked about Tevez.
Kloss said: ''Questions in relation to Carlos Tevez in general, in relation to his alleged conduct on Tuesday evening and the potential ramifications of that conduct and in relation to his future at the football club is strictly off limits and will not be answered.
''Breaches of this will result in the press conference being suspended. This decision has been made to protect the interests of all parties and safeguard the integrity of the investigation that is currently taking place.''
Mancini himself tried played down any side-effects of the drama, rejecting a suggestion that this has been the hardest week of his managerial career.
He said: ''No, no, absolutely no. Why is it difficult? Some situations can happen in football, in your job. It's important that the past is finished.
''I don't have any complications. Only one complication that we had two days ago is that we lost against Bayern Munich, only this. We started very well we can do a fantastic season, I don't have this problem.
''It is normal that one player is not happy to leave the pitch in an important game or to stay on the bench, it's a normal situation for every manager.''