Unsettled Tevez is a 'problem' for United

Ferguson accepts his striker is frustrated with life on fringes at Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson has acknowledged for the first time Carlos Tevez's frustration with life at Manchester United and the fact that he is looking for a new club at the end of the season.

Ferguson displayed mild indignation when Tevez's midweek comments to Argentinian radio were first raised yesterday – "Well, he's played more minutes than [Wayne] Rooney and [Dimitar] Berbatov this season," the United manager said. In fact Berbatov and Rooney have both started 32 games this season to Tevez's 31 and by any measure he has enjoyed less football – 1,591 minutes of Premier League football for instance, to Berbatov's 2,183 and – more significantly – Tevez has featured in fewer important games.

His omission for the 3-0 home win against Chelsea in January upset him more than being a bystander in Champions League football, where he has had 325 minutes of action to Rooney's 708. "I don't want him to be unhappy because he is an important player for us," Ferguson said. "The difficulty is when you have got the options I have got. I bought another striker in, with Berbatov as well as having the option of playing [Cristiano] Ronaldo as a striker – you create problems for yourself because all good players want to play in every game. But they can't in this league – it is impossible."

Ferguson, whose side play Berbatov's old club Tottenham at Old Trafford this evening, also faces the challenge of Berbatov's struggle to assert himself. There were boos in his direction at Old Trafford during Wednesday's match against Portsmouth and Ferguson said United fans must put his dreadfully tame penalty miss against Everton in the FA Cup semi-final last Sunday behind them. "It was a bad penalty and he knows that," Ferguson said. "He was disappointed in himself, don't worry about that. He is down about it."

Tevez is the more serious problem, though. His craving for regular starts makes Manchester City a far more likely English destination than any other club and Mark Hughes wore a grin yesterday. "As situations with players at other clubs develop I'm sure we'll get associated with Tevez," the City manager said.

The Independent revealed City's interest in the player four months ago. The nature of Tevez's contract at United – he is on loan from investment companies headed by Kia Joorabchian – makes him vulnerable to other clubs coming in. "That is our weakness," admitted Ferguson. He believes that Tevez's inclination only to do interviews with South American media causes him to be misquoted but that was not the case this time.

Ferguson, who may hand Ryan Giggs his 800th game for United today, said he will have Rafael da Silva in the problematic left-back slot and has Rio Ferdinand back after a rest against Portsmouth. He will know by the time the game kicks off whether Liverpool, who play at Hull, are in need of an even greater "miracle" than the one their forward Dirk Kuyt has suggested is required for United, three points clear with a game in hand, to be caught.

Ferguson did not resist another minor dig at his prime adversaries' manager Rafael Benitez. "He's definitely saying a lot," he said of the Spaniard. "I'm happy he carries on with it because I've got to trust my players." But Benitez, who will be without Steven Gerrard for a fourth successive match, rejected a report that he had further goaded Ferguson by saying Liverpool had the better team. "It was an old interview and they changed the words when it was translated," he said.

Benitez said his gesture which offended Ferguson against Blackburn was aimed at his midfielder Xabi Alonso. "We were laughing after the free-kick. That was it." But he is not laughing about Spain's likely need of Fernando Torres in the Confederations Cup in South Africa this summer to be followed by Liverpool's need of him in the pre-season tour of Thailand and Singapore. "We have five players who have to go to the Confederations Cup," said Benitez. "The idea is we will give them time but they have to be with the team during the pre-season."

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Astronauts could be kept asleep for days or even weeks
scienceScientists are looking for a way to keep astronauts in a sleeplike state for days or weeks
Sport
Fabian Delph celebrates his goal
footballChristian Benteke and Fabian Delph turn semi-final after Liverpool goal
Life and Style
Model wears: top £29.50, leggings £25, jacket £29.50, bag £25, all marksandspencer.com
fashion
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace