Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini ignored the elephant in the room yesterday as he avoided questions on suspended Carlos Tevez and denied this had been a difficult week.
While Alex Ferguson praised his rival for his "strength of character" in dealing with Tevez, who Mancini has said refused to come on in last Tuesday's 0-2 Champions League defeat at Bayern Munich, the subject was off limits at a City news conference.
The club took the unusual step of reading out a statement beforehand to say that any questions relating directly or indirectly to Tevez would spell the end of proceedings.
Mancini, who entered the room joking "Champions League final?" as he clocked the larger than usual press contingent, was happy to discuss the wonderful weather, his bike ride to work and today's English Premier League trip to Blackburn Rovers.
The Italian's only real reference to a week where City banned striker Tevez for up to two weeks pending an investigation into his conduct, was to deny that this had been the hardest week of his managerial career.
"No, no, absolutely no. Why is it difficult? Some situations can happen in football, in your job," he said. "It's important that the past is finished.
"I don't have any complications. The only complication that we had two days ago is that we lost against Bayern Munich, only this.
"It is normal that one player is not happy to leave the pitch in an important game or to stay on the bench, it's a normal situation for every manager."
A couple of miles down the road, the subject of Tevez was not out of bounds as Manchester United boss Ferguson complimented Mancini on his handling of the matter.
"I think that Roberto Mancini has come out and shown his strength of character, his strength of management and I think that is important," Tevez's ex-manager told a news conference.
City is unbeaten in the league this season, having dropped just two points in six games, and is behind neighbor United on goal difference.