• FA Cup

Fergie won't put boot into 'down' Benitez

ESPN staff
March 8, 2013

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Sir Alex Ferguson has refused to put the boot into ailing Chelsea boss Rafael Benitez, with the Manchester United chief insisting it was not his style to kick a man while he was down.

United entertain Chelsea in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday, with both sides heading into the clash on the back of defeats in Europe. The Red Devils' loss to Real Madrid was the more damaging, as it ended their interest in the Champions League while Chelsea have the chance to overturn their 1-0 defeat in the second leg of their Europa League tie with Steaua Bucharest.

Irrespective of whether Chelsea win the Europa League and the FA Cup, it seems certain that Benitez will be moved on in the summer. He has failed to keep the Blues in the title hunt since taking charge last year and said last week that his time at Stamford Bridge was coming to a close.

Benitez and Ferguson have not had the best of relationships, with the pair clashing regularly when Benitez was in charge of Liverpool, but Ferguson opted not to comment on his rival - albeit by making it clear that the Spaniard was on the rocks.

"I'm not going to kick anyone when they're lying down," Ferguson said. "It's not my style.

"My concern is the manager of Manchester United and what happens at Chelsea does not affect me."

Looking ahead to Sunday's game, Ferguson said: "It's a big game, the FA Cup. We have a hard game against good opponents. Chelsea have a terrific record in the FA Cup, probably the best of any team in the last decade. We haven't won it for almost 10 years, so there are a lot of incentives for us."

The Scot also confirmed Ryan Giggs would take no part, with the Scot not prepared to risk his elder statesman following his brilliant effort in defeat to Real.

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