Sir Alex Ferguson has shrugged off Carlos Tevez's complaints about limited first team opportunities with Manchester United and insists he is optimistic that he will hold on to the Argentinian striker this summer.
Tevez was quoted in his homeland this week as saying he will leave Old Trafford at the end of the campaign due to his lack of first team football, a claim that his manager refutes. "Whether the games he has played are important games or not is a different question but he has played in quite a few big games," said Ferguson. "I don't want him to be unhappy because he is an important player for us.
"The difficulty is when you have got the options I have got - I bought another striker in with Berbatov, as well as having the option of playing Ronaldo as a striker - you create problems for yourself because all good players want to play in every game. But they can't play in every game in this league - it is impossible," the boss added. "I think he genuinely wants to stay here and that is something we are trying to work towards. I have told him that repeatedly. And there is not much more I can do."
The complicated ackground to Tevez's contract status means the former West Ham forward is only on loan at Old Trafford and is a free agent at season's end with the ability to walk out on United. However, his work rate and effort in United's cause has been hugely impressive and Ferguson believes Tevez can take pride in the part he has played in the team's success.
"He does give fantastic effort," said United's Scottish manager. "That is one of his best qualities. He is a tiger, he fights for every ball, he holds it up well, he is a handful to play against, we know that. But I go back to the point that he is has played more minutes than any of the other players up front and I think if he looked at that he would think differently.
"I think he should be here next season, I certainly hope so," Ferguson went on. "Of course we are vulnerable because he is on loan, no question about that. That is our weakness. And when he is being asked questions about his future then it is loaded towards his future and his options. His loan period finishes at the end of the season.
"But we are where we are. Six games left in the league and at least two games left in the Champions League, hopefully at the end of the season he will realise that he has made a big contribution," he added. "And that is what we say to all the players. When you deal with the squad I have got - and they are all internationals - at the end of the season if we have won something, they should all feel they have made a contribution to that success."
Tevez is certainly a far more popular figure among United supporters at the moment than Dimitar Berbatov, who was jeered by a small section of supporters in the midweek home win over Portsmouth, the legacy of his disastrous FA Cup semi-final penalty miss. "It was a bad penalty and he knows that," said Ferguson. "He was disappointed in himself, don't worry about that. He is down about it. But to our supporters I say, let's move on."