Sir Alex Ferguson has started a self-imposed media ban that could last a month in protest at the interpretation of his comments about Fernando Torres last month.
Following Manchester United's 3-2 victory over Liverpool in which Torres won a free kick that led to Liverpool's second goal, Ferguson said the striker had "made an absolute meal" of contact from John O'Shea, saying there was "no doubt he tried to get the player sent off".
Some sections of the media used the word "cheat" in reporting Ferguson's accusations against the Liverpool striker, but that has angered the United boss, who feels that term did not reflect his views. In just the latest of a long history of poor relations between Ferguson and the media, he cancelled Friday's pre-match press conference for Saturday's trip to Sunderland and isn't expected to speak publicly for a month.
Meanwhile, defender Rio Ferdinand insists United have no need to panic over their early season form. United head to Sunderland on Saturday still to record a Premier League away win in three attempts so far this season.
Victories were tossed away in unusual circumstances at Fulham and Everton, although the Red Devils were forced to come from behind to grab a point at Bolton on Sunday. It leaves them three points adrift of leaders Chelsea already, with all their major rivals still to play, with the exception of Liverpool. Yet Ferdinand does not feel there is any need to panic.
"When you drop points against anyone you put yourself under pressure,'' he said. "The seasons we have lost the league have been the ones where we have given teams a headstart. It seemed like we were doing that until last weekend but now the gap is three again, which I wouldn't say it is a massive difference at this stage of the season. As long as we kick on from now and get on a good run of victories we will be all right.''
Ferdinand is hopeful of keeping his place after helping the Red Devils to keep a clean sheet in Valencia on Wednesday. After recent defensive problems, which has seen them concede nine goals in their past five league games, the central defensive partnership between Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic does appear to be the answer to United's problems.
However, Ferdinand accepts life is not quite so simple. And, even though he feels ready to take on the challenge of playing two games in a week after recovering from the knee injury that wrecked his World Cup, the 31-year-old is happy to leave his future in the hands of Ferguson.
"I feel I can play two games in a row,'' said Ferdinand. "It is obvious I need games. I have been out for so long, to expect to come back and play matches on the bounce straightaway would be wrong.
"I will just do what the manager asks me to do. He is the most experienced man on the planet in football terms. I have to trust the manager's judgement and his views on me playing for the future of the season. If he deems it right for me to play on Saturday I would be delighted.''