Tevez camp try to limit the damage

 

Derby C v Manchester U:CARLOS TEVEZ and his representatives embarked on a damage-limitation exercise yesterday aimed at sparing him any disciplinary action from Manchester United and convincing Alex Ferguson the Argentina forward was prepared to wait until the end of the season, if necessary, to finalise his long-term future, following a candid interview last week.

Tevez, who is expected to play in the first leg of United's League Cup semi-final at Derby County tonight, broke ranks to speak to the Radio Del Plata station in Argentina on Monday about the way he felt United were dragging their feet, describing himself as "annoyed" by Ferguson's claim that a contract had been offered to him.

It was his most outspoken interview yet, and he followed it up by asking his business manager, Kia Joorabchian, to set up an interview with a British tabloid so he could put the record straight about reports he had asked for the same amount of money as Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

His frustrations included the observation that he would now accept a five-year deal from "any club in the world" for "my own peace of mind". He added: "I've been waiting for a year-and-a-half for them to make an offer. I don't know what my future is. United know what they have to pay if they want me to stay. It annoys me that they're beginning to play games with the people who cheer me with such affection in every match. I want them (the fans) to know I haven't received any offer. If I have to leave the club then I want to leave in a good way."

There was plenty more on the same theme and Ferguson, notorious for wanting such issues to be kept in-house, was said to be taken aback by the strident nature of his player's remarks. The United manager imposes strict rules on players talking to the media and it is not beyond the realms of possibility he may fine Tevez for giving an unauthorised interview.

It led to a series of media briefings yesterday in which Tevez's advisers claimed on his behalf that something had been lost in translation.

Whether that will wash with Ferguson remains to be seen, but it is likely to count against Tevez that this is not the first time he has given an interview abroad and then complained about being misrepresented when it has come back to haunt him in England.

Joorabchian argued the matter had been blown out of proportion and, asked if there was an issue between Tevez and Ferguson, he replied: "No. Tevez just wanted to clarify that he hadn't received an offer. Everything's fine. He gets on very well with Ferguson. The truth is, there are no problems and he's going to carry on playing for Manchester United until the end of the season. All Carlos said in the interview was that it was not true, he has not rejected an offer from Manchester United, he has not made crazy demands. He just wanted the fans to know that we haven't had any contract talks."

Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs has hinted he could retire at the end of the season. The 35-year-old former Wales captain's deal with Manchester United expires then.

Nigel Clough's appointment as Derby manager last night sees him follow in the footsteps of his legendary father more than four decades after Brian Clough took over at the Baseball Ground.

Clough (42), has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Rams, leaving Blue Square Premier leaders Burton to take over at Pride Park.

Clough senior's crowning achievement came in May 1972 when Derby claimed the Division One title for the first time.