Ferguson attacks agents for Mancini's Tevez saga


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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday launched a staunch defence of Roberto Mancini's handling of the Carlos Tevez affair, declaring that handling players who are dominated by their agents was making the manager's role a difficult and complex one.

Tevez's disciplinary hearing with Manchester City yesterday was preceded by a leak of information confirming that the club were unable to prove that the striker had refused to take to the field of play in Munich last month. Ferguson backed Mancini, declaring that the manager whom he will encounter in tomorrow's Manchester derby at Old Trafford had received inadequate praise.

Ferguson, who endured a difficult relationship both with Tevez and his adviser Kia Joorabchian before deeming the Argentine was not worth the trouble and sanctioning the decision not to retain him in the summer of 2009, said: "Management today is a complex situation in terms of the type of player we have to deal with. A lot of players today are dominated by their agent. You get agents who buy their groceries, do their travel, polish their boots. That is the kind of human being you are having to deal with these days with some agents. Some other agents are quite responsible and allow the players to have their own responsibilities and do things themselves like buy their house, buy their car and do their banking. But others dominate their lives. That situation for a manager is not easy. Any manager coming into the game today – it is not an easy job. It is different from when I started. It is much, much more complex and more difficult to deal with."

Tevez is likely to be charged with "failing to follow manager's instructions", following a 90-minute disciplinary hearing before the club's chief operating officer, Graham Wallace, which went ahead at 2pm yesterday at a solicitors' office in central Manchester and will then appeal against that decision – both to another City director and to the Premier League. Tevez went into the hearing with a lawyer, translator and Professional Footballers' Association representative.

But it was a sign of the protracted, public battle the disciplinary process is likely to be for the club when – contrary to a prior agreement between the two sides not to leak information pertaining to the case – an apparently substantial body of evidence was leaked. The evidence confirmed what had been suspected – that amid the chaos of City's game at Bayern Munich the club could not demonstrate that Tevez refused to play as well as to warm up. City are dismayed that, after they attempted to maintain a fair inquiry by running it on a strict, quasi-legal footing, information should have been publicly disclosed. There is a sense of resignation at the club that any disclosures will be immediately released as part of the political battle being waged to demonstrate that Tevez has done no wrong. Refusing to warm up does constitute a breach of contract.

As of last night, the club's written adjudication on a number of alleged breaches of contract had not been communicated to the player's lawyers and is not expected to be before Monday. City have until Wednesday to inform the 27-year-old of their decision.

City maintained their position of non-disclosure and again instructed Mancini not to speak on the issue at his press conference. The player will continue to train alone for as long as it is justifiable, on the grounds that his weight and fitness do not make it appropriate for him to join the full squad.

Ferguson said he had "seen very little praise for [Mancini] on the subject. It all centred around what they were going to do. But he acted, he did his job. I think he has done it well. It is nothing to do with Carlos Tevez I am talking about Mancini and his approach to a difficult situation which he has handled really well."

The United manager also expressed a sense of frustration that he was unable to say more of the alleged racial abuse of Patrice Evra by Liverpool's Luis Suarez. The Football Association interviewed Evra in person at United's Carrington training base on Thursday and will interview the Uruguayan at Melwood, probably next Monday or Tuesday. Though the interview with Suarez must take place in the interests of a fair and balanced investigation, the FA is likely to need proof from Evra that he did receive racist abuse. It must then decide whether Suarez has a case to answer.

Ferguson said: "The FA have sent us a directive today saying not to discuss it while the investigation is going on. I have got plenty to say on the subject but I suppose I will have to adhere to what they are saying. I would like to say something but [I will have to] let them get on with their investigation."