Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson Reuters

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will not be stepping down as the Red Devils' manager despite Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan thinking otherwise, said American broadcaster Charlie Stillitano (a long time friend of Ferguson's), according to a Telegraph report. Whelan, who will have his own managerial problems if Roberto Martinez takes up the Liverpool job, earlier claimed the 70 year old Scot would retire next season, following his recent visit to the hospital last week.

Ferguson, who was rushed to the hospital after a nosebleed, was in "tremendous pain", according to a close friend. The incident, apparently, led Whelan to conclude, on Friday, the former Scotland boss would call it quits next season, according to an earlier IBTimes UK report.

However, Stillitano, as a reply to Whelan's comments, says Ferguson had no intention whatsoever of leaving the Red Devils next season.

"He [Ferguson] was laughing when I spoke to him on Friday and I said, 'Are you going to retire?' and he said, 'No, nothing has changed'. He is going to continue until it is his time to step down," the Telegraph quoted Stillitano as saying, and addng, "If you keep doing your profession at the top, you stay sharp and that is what Sir Alex is thinking. He doesn't want to step down. Dave Whelan's comments are reasonable. He knows Sir Alex and everyone realises that, at 70, you have to start thinking about retirement, but maybe not [in Ferguson's case]."

Meanwhile, Ferguson, who has helped the Red Devils win 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and four League Cups since his arrival in 1986, said his first step in leading United to glory was changing the players' diets.

"When I started as a coach - and before they started talking about diets - I used to take my team at East Stirling for lunch. All I would give them was two slices of lemon sole, toast and honey. They used to go crazy. When I was a player, they used to give you fillet steaks and steak pie and things like that. So when I became a manager I said to myself 'What they eat before a game is as important as what happens during the game," said Ferguson, according to The Sun.

However, next season he will have to do much more than change diets if he wants to compete with Roberto Mancini's Manchester City, who are threatening to usher a new era of dominance.