Queiroz is off the hook over 'stupid' fans

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The Independent Football

It was claimed that Queiroz told the Portuguese paper O Jogo that the United supporters who chanted "4-4-2" during Saturday's defeat to Blackburn proved "that is why football is a game in which imagination and, many times, stupidity has no limits".

Queiroz was stunned at the interpretation of the interview, which provoked a wave of complaints from supporters, even though Queiroz himself was spared any personal criticism during Tuesday's Champions' League win over Benfica.

United staff immediately launched an investigation into the comments and it has now been confirmed by staff at O Jogo that, rather than attacking the club's supporters, Queiroz was highlighting the wide range of decisions for which it was possible to be criticised.

In a letter to Queiroz, O Jogo editor Manuel Tavares confirmed: "Only a bad translation service could have allowed the phrase that you used to describe the wide range of criticism that football can be subjected to - from stupidity to imagination - could have been transformed into a criticism of Manchester United fans.

"This serious misinterpretation of your words caused great perplexity as your current statements (and those in the past) have shown your position to always be one where managers should respect criticism from the fans."

Queiroz himself added: "The comments attributed to me in the press on Tuesday are not an accurate reflection of my view of the fans, or of what I said, as O Jogo has testified.".

"We have the best fans in football. Their loyalty, passion, support and respect for the team and the game are testament to this.

"I regret the misunderstanding that has occurred from the inaccurate translation but also the way it has been taken out of context from the interview as a whole."

And Queiroz has received backing from Giggs, who has spoken out to deny claims of a rift with Sir Alex Ferguson's assistant. Giggs made only his second senior start of the season when he captained United to victory over Benfica on Tuesday. Questions had been raised over his absence, with Queiroz's influence cited as a factor. But his early absences can be put down to a chest infection.

"It has been a frustrating time because I have not been able to get into the team and I want to play," Giggs said, "but no, stories about a discussion with Carlos are not true," he said.

Of the angry fall-out from last weekend's defeat by Blackburn, Giggs said: "I don't think it was an over-reaction from the fans," he said. "We are expected to beat Blackburn at home and on Saturday everyone, the players, the staff and the fans, were frustrated."