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Ferguson/Giggs Rift Emphatically Denied
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Sir Alex Ferguson has rubbished suggestions that he argued with veteran winger Ryan Giggs before Manchester United's 3-0 victory over Everton.

The Old Trafford manager's selection choice raised a few eyebrows after announcing five changes from the starting line-up that had drawn 1-1 with Chelsea on Sunday, changes that seem to have impaired the Red Devils’ fluency on the pitch. 

However, the main talking point was the absence of Giggs on his 33rd birthday amidst rumors the Welsh wonder had reacted angrily to being blamed for the goal that allowed Chelsea to secure a point.

Ferguson was quick to defend his decision insisting that, with a vital Champions League game against Benfica next week, it was important to keep his squad fresh as they entered a crucial period of the campaign.

Ferguson said: "I told Ryan Giggs on Sunday that he wouldn't be playing today. He is 33 today and you have got to look after the old species! I felt that we needed to change the team because we are playing Benfica next Wednesday and we couldn't afford to have them going into that game cold. Some changes were forced on us, like Nemanja Vidic, who had taken an elbow to the jaw.

"We thought it was fractured and we sent him for an x-ray but fortunately it is not. It's just very, very tender and we had to leave him out. Playing Ronaldo was a bit of a risk and he had to come off eventually. But he wanted to play and that's good."

Ronaldo led United to a victory that keeps them three points clear at the top of the table. He contributed a superb goal in the 38th minute before Patrice Evra and John O'Shea wrapped up matters in the second half.

Ferguson added: "It was important to get the goal before half-time. James Beattie has got a fantastic spring and the lad caused us a lot of problems with that. Everton played well around that and we needed a break through.”

"We were starting to get some pattern to the play before the goal but it was a fluent display. The goal just settled us down. When you make a lot of changes, you are not going to get the flow of the game that you had before.

"I thought we were okay because we had a lot of athleticism in the team and a lot of players wanted to do well.

Meanwhile, disappointed Everton manager David Moyes claimed the result was not a fair reflection on the game and was happy with the way his players acquitted themselves, particularly with key duo Tim Cahill and Andy Johnson out with injuries. Between them, they have scored 13 of Everton's 18 Premiership goals this season.

Moyes said: "I thought we played quite well. I certainly didn't think it was worth a 3-0 defeat. I thought that we were well in the game before they scored their first and we tried as best we could to get a goal back.

"We were doing what we could when they got their second. I'm pleased with what the players have done. This is a hard place to come but I didn't think that was fair on Everton tonight. We had a few players out who are important to us."

(China Daily December 1, 2006)

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