Despite blocking Chelsea's pursuit for Wayne Rooney, Manchester United manager David Moyes insisted Sunday that he has not fallen out with the unsettled striker or banished him to the reserves.
The Premier League champions have rejected two bids in the last month from Chelsea for Rooney, who wants to leave Old Trafford after becoming unhappy at no longer being a regular starter.
According to Alex Ferguson, a verbal transfer request was submitted before he handed over power at United to Moyes in May and the saga has overshadowed pre-season preparations.
Rooney has not played in any of the official pre-season matches and injury also kept him out of Sunday's Community Shield win over Wigan.
In a prickly encounter with reporters after the 2-0 win at Wembley Stadium, Moyes maintained that there is no rift with the 27-year-old England international.
"Some of you might not like hearing this, but I didn't fall out with Wayne," Moyes said. "Wayne trained with the reserves because it was his asking ... anyone who wrote anything else was misleading their readers."
Ferguson was renowned for his combative confrontations with the media, although Moyes' exchange was not as heated on Sunday.
"I'm quite enjoying talking about it because I'm hearing so many of you are getting it wrong and I know most of you," Moyes said. "I think to myself, 'I think you are a bit cleverer than that' ... But some of you aren't acting that way at the moment."
Moyes has said hamstring and shoulder injuries have kept Rooney out of action, the latter problem picked up in a behind-closed-doors game against Real Betis last weekend.
But despite deeming Rooney potentially fit enough to play for England in a friendly against Scotland on Wednesday, Moyes said he is unlikely to be ready for United's Premier League opener at Swansea on Saturday.
"I don't see why you think that's confusing," Moyes said when asked about the situation. "Tell me why you think it's confusing."
When challenged on the fact that the England game — despite being a friendly — is a significant fixture like the Swansea game, the Scottish manager quipped in response: "You don't think I'm going to send England a fit player do you?"
"He's coming back, he's breaking himself back into the team," Moyes added. "It will be great for Manchester United because hopefully Wayne will get some playing time [for England]."
United captain Nemanja Vidic questioned why Rooney would want to leave "the best club in the world."
"I think there's no point to go anywhere [else]," Vidic said. "There's so much speculation, so much talk about whether he'll leave or stay. He's at the best club in the world.
"I have to say the last four years I was in that position as well. People were talking about me leaving the club. I'm still here and I'm enjoying playing for this club. Nothing has changed."