Sir Alex Ferguson has defended the decision to bring three of his young players back from loan spells at Preston in the wake of Darren Ferguson's dismissal.
The move has been viewed as a clear act of revenge on Ferguson's part given the treatment his son received at Deepdale. Preston chairman Maurice Lindsay spoke of his shock at the move, which cost his club the services of Ritchie de Laet, Matty James and Joshua King.
However, Ferguson has decided to set the record straight, confirming that it was his players' desire not to go back to the Lancashire outfit, a view that was explained personally by the United boss to Preston owner and fellow horse-racing fan Trevor Hemmings
"I spoke with the owner, Trevor Hemmings, with whom I have a good relationship, and explained that the players did not want to go back," said Ferguson.
"Our reserve-team coach, Warren Joyce, spoke to me about it. We decided that the players should go to training that day and we would discuss it later.
"We decided that if the players did not want to go back there was no point in them being there. Matty James was already injured and both Ritchie de Laet and Josh King were coming back in two days' time anyway, so under the regulations, we decided to keep them."