Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has had a pop at Arsenal rival Arsene Wenger over his continued criticism of Stoke City. The Frenchman has been a critic of Stoke's combative style since they came into the Barclays Premier League - in particular after Aaron Ramsey broke his leg in a tackle with former United defender Ryan Shawcross last February.

But Ferguson came to Stoke's defence yesterday, saying: "People have criticised their physical style of play but they stick to what they do best.

"I suppose Arsene Wenger has been one of their main critics, but then he does go off on a tangent at times. For instance, he criticised our pitch after they lost here before Christmas and I was at a loss to understand why.

"I have a great admiration for Tony (Pulis) and the wry way he rides the criticism levelled at his team. If anything the criticism galvanises the players and gives them extra motivation."

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