Ferguson calm over Ferdinand situation

The long-serving Manchester United defender's present deal expires in the summer meaning he is now free to negotiate terms with any continental club. With apparent interest in the 34-year-old from both the United States and Far East, it puts United at risk of losing one of their most experienced players

But Ferguson is confident the situation will eventually reach a satisfactory resolution. "We are not panicking about that," said Ferguson. "I don't think Rio wants to leave and, as I have said before, he can play on."

Ferguson added: "I don't think he has the same issue with his back that he had a couple of years ago. It is manageable now. Getting rest at the right time definitely helps him and he does a lot of work on his pre-match preparation now, with yoga and a lot of other things to help him sustain his playing time."

Ferdinand certainly has plenty of incentive to help United overcome his old club West Ham in the FA Cup at Upton Park on Saturday evening. For, with the exception of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher, he like the remainder of the Red Devils squad, has never won the world's oldest domestic cup competition.

In Ferdinand's case it is because he was serving an eight-month suspension for missing a drugs test when United last won the tournament in 2004. And Ferguson thinks the statistic needs rectifying by the 11-times winners.

"Rio mentioned it in the dressing room last season," he said. "He has never won it. It means a lot to someone like that, who has been in the game for such a long time."

It still means a lot to Ferguson, even though he has won it on five occasions and has slipped down the list of priorities, behind both the Champions League and Premier League.

"The FA Cup is still the best domestic tournament in the world," he said. "The Champions League is a bigger challenge. We are playing Real Madrid and there is an FA Cup round either side of that.

"Let's be honest, where would you prefer to be West Ham or Real Madrid? But even though I don't believe the semi-finals should be played at Wembley, the FA Cup still has the romance about it."

Source: PA

Source: PA