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Ferguson dodges FA rap as Mancini talks up City appeal

MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has received a timely boost after being told he will not face more punishment from the Football Association for his latest verbal attack on officialdom.

Ferguson, who must pick up his team following their FA Cup exit to Leeds in time for tomorrow’s Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City, criticised a perceived shortage of injury time in Sunday’s shock defeat to the League One leaders. The Scot, who was banned for two games in November for comments about referee Alan Wiley, risked further censure be calling Chris Foy’s decision to play five additional minutes “an insult to the game”, following the 1-0 third-round loss at Old Trafford.

But the FA yesterday confirmed Ferguson’s comments did not warrant another disciplinary charge, meaning he will avoid activating a further ban of two matches, which were suspended at the time of his charge earlier in the season.

City manager Roberto Mancini, meanwhile, who has won all three games since replacing Mark Hughes just before Christmas, believes the cream of global talent is clamouring to join the mega-rich Eastlands outfit.

Mancini has been linked with January moves for several of his former Inter Milan players, but is shelving plans until after the first leg against local rivals United.

“All the players want to join Manchester City,” said the Italian. “That is normal with a big club who is going to have a big future. But the most important thing for me is the match against Manchester United. We will see then.”