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Football | Barclays Premier League

Fergie criticises FA over Jones



Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson on Friday criticised the Football Association for breach of confidentiality after England under-21 coach Stuart Pearce revealed that Phil Jones had shingles.

Earlier this week, Pearce said Jones would miss the friendly clash with Sweden as he was suffering from shingles, annoying Ferguson, who reacted angrily last September after England senior team coach Roy Hodgson said Ashley Young had a knee problem.

"Phil Jones should be OK, irrespective of Stuart Pearce coming out and declaring he had shingles which was thought was in doctor's confidence," Ferguson told a news conference.

"We're disappointed in that but it (shingles) is nothing serious – a mild condition that has surfaced but he should be OK, hopefully."

Ferguson said such statements about players was "something we have to address", blaming the size of the FA for news leaking out.

"In this case it was the confidence of our doctor and their doctor and it shouldn't have gone any further. There's no need for me to speak to Stuart Pearce," he added.

Meanwhile, Ferguson said he was unsure about whether new measures about financial fair play in the English Premier League will have any effect.

Thirteen of the 20 Premier League clubs have voted in favour of proposals for new spending controls in the English top flight. But while Ferguson backs the idea, he said he was uncertain about how any new measures will be implemented.

"(European governing body) Uefa's financial fair play starts this year and it's all good in theory but the application will always be difficult. If people have money to burn they can place it anywhere in the world," he added.

"I'll be interested to see how they think they can operate it. It would be good if it was applicable but I have my doubts. It will always be a problem trying to enforce it."

Manchester United play Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday and Ferguson is confident that winger Young will return from a knee problem and Jones will be available. Michael Carrick should also overcome a thigh injury, he said.

But the United manager, who is pleased with the depth of his squad, could still rest players, with the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie with Real Madrid to come in Spain on Wednesday.

Ferguson is still frustrated at the 4-4 draw with Everton in April last season that handed rivals Manchester City the advantage in the title race.

United were leading 4-2 at home with eight minutes left but conceded two late goals that allowed City to move ahead on goal difference with their 1-0 win over United in the following game at the Etihad Stadium.

"Last season cost us the league: 4-2 up with eight minutes to go was unexpected and you have to anticipate the unexpected in the run and that was a bad blow for us," Ferguson said.

"But the team is playing well. I'm pleased with the form and the players that are changing around and making different team selections are buying into it very well, all contributing in their own way and that gives us a better chance to deal with the various competitions we're in now.

"Sunday is the next stage then Real Madrid then the FA Cup, so it's a terrific spell for Manchester United and you can't help but feel this is the way we should be."

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