Sir Alex Ferguson has condemned the rise of player power at the top of football and commended Roberto Mancini for delivering "a clear message" that managers should not tolerate the kind of behaviour that has left Carlos Tevez a pariah at Manchester City.
Ferguson's programme notes for Sunday's Manchester derby are heavily critical of Tevez and the United manager commends Mancini for striking a blow on the part of managers to show that "you cannot pander to that kind of power".
Tevez will discover his punishment in the next few days after attending a disciplinary hearing on Friday because of his refusal to obey Mancini's instructions when he was wanted as a second-half substitute in the Champions League tie at Bayern Munich last month. Ferguson's own relationship with the former Manchester United striker ended badly and he writes of Mancini delivering "a masterclass in management" by deciding Tevez could never play for City again.
"When Carlos appeared reluctant to come on as a substitute I saw a coach angry and disturbed and rightly so because nobody should be bigger at a club than a manager," Ferguson says. "He is the man who must have absolute authority and to give way to a challenge to his control is the biggest mistake a boss can make.
"I am not saying this to have a go at Carlos. There will be cynics who say I have it in for him because of the circumstances through which he left Old Trafford under something of a cloud. I never had a problem with Carlos and I am speaking critically of him now only because of my understanding of the difficult jobs managers face.
"Carlos no doubt felt aggrieved, and I am sure he still does, but there are important principles at play here and there has to be a limit to what a head coach can tolerate. If a player refuses to go on the field and there is a clear attempt to defy the authority of the manager, then he has to react – and vigorously so. Management these days has become much more complicated, not least because of the enormous amounts of money players earn, and you cannot afford to pander to that kind of power.
"The City boss's reaction was spot-on and sent a clear message to the rest of the players, not just at Eastlands but throughout the game. His handling of the situation distinguished him in managerial terms. I always admire the courage to do right, and that is what we are seeing here."