Clash with Keane just our ambitions firing up, says Ferguson

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The pair are believed to have had an altercation over Ferguson's decision to invite family members to United's base in the Algarve, with Keane believing the trip should have been for players only.

"Roy and I had a few words in Portugal, but did he walk out? Did we come to blows? Of course not," Ferguson said. "We are both combustible characters and we are always having arguments. He cares and I care and every so often we clash in pursuit of our ambitions. That does not affect the respect I have for him and I do not think it lessens my standing as a manager in Roy Keane's eyes."

Ferguson also played down the row between Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy at the end of United's defeat to Kashima Antlers in Tokyo a fortnight ago. "Rio probably felt Ruud had not made enough effort to move away from his marker in order to receive the ball," Ferguson said.

"Ruud, on the other hand, perhaps felt Rio had been too slow to give him the ball. Either way, it was one of those things which happens all the time in games and in training. The only difference this time was that it came near the end of defeat and tempers were probably a bit frayed."

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