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United back Rio; GAME ON: FOOTBALL.

CARLOS QUEIROZ has defended contract rebel Rio Ferdinand against allegations of disloyalty and told the Manchester United boo-boys to get off his back.

After being jeered by his own fans during pre-season outings at Clyde and Peterborough, Ferdinand, who has yet to sign a pounds 100,000-a-week contract extension, was again barracked in Tokyo's National Stadium.

Isolated and minor barracking during the Red Devils' 2-1 defeat to Kashima Antlers turned into more sustained abuse after the final whistle and it has been alleged Ferdinand reacted by offering a "V" sign towards his tormentors.

Less than a fortnight after Sir Alex Ferguson claimed his pounds 29.1million record signing could be forced out of Old Trafford by the hecklers, assistant boss Queiroz called on the Londoner to be left alone, deeming the contract row to be nothing more than "an administrative matter."

"We are against anyone, Manchester United supporters or fans of other clubs, who try to put question marks against any of our players," he said.

"This is an administration issue, nothing more.

"Contractual discussions are on-going but that does not place a question mark over Rio's loyalty, his commitment, his desire, his heart and his will to win trophies for United."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 30, 2005
Words:202
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