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."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
i100

Other places that have held independence referendums
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur
film

It scooped up an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards when it was first remade in 1959

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Actors star in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

News
news

News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
Arts and Entertainment
Maxine Peake plays Hamlet at Manchester's Royal Exchange
theatreReview: Maxine Peake brings emotional ferocity to Shakespeare's starring part
News
London's New Year's Eve fireworks event is going to be ticketed this year for the first time at £10 a head
news

Revellers will have to pay to see New Year's Eve fireworks in London

News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
Travel
travel

...and the perfect time to visit them

Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger reveals he has testicular cancer - and is losing his trademark long hair as a result

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Life and Style
tech

Try putting that one on your Christmas list
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week