Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has clarified comments he made that appeared to depict Manchester City's team spirit in a negative light.
Ferdinand conducted an interview with national newspapers which was interpreted as him stoking the derby fires ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final by claiming Manchester City's players' poor attitudes would not be tolerated at Old Trafford.
City's season has been dotted with bust-ups between players at training, a fact goalkeeper Joe Hart acknowledged this week, while James Milner became the latest City player to express his obvious displeasure at being substituted by shaking his head as he came off in City's 3-0 loss to Liverpool on Monday.
"You don't see anyone come off the pitch shaking their head, being disgruntled, or sitting on the bench in a sulk at this club," Ferdinand said. "It won't happen here because everyone is delighted to play for this club and they want to be here. The moment you show a bit of dissent like that, the manager pulls rank, and rightly so.
"It's an unwritten rule at this club. You see it in the changing room before games. There are no cliques. People are wishing each other well before games, even if someone else is playing in your position. That's just the way we are."
However, Ferdinand used his Twitter account to underline on Thursday morning that his comments were not directed at United's local rivals.
He wrote: "Just for the record my comments in todays papers about Man utd's team spirit were not aimed at Man city, I never once mentioned them.
"These reporters asked me about MANCHESTER UNITED great team spirit (eg scoring a goal straight after chelsea had scored). Why twist it????"