Sir Alex salutes Tevez and Ronaldo

Carlos Tevez said before Sunday's Manchester derby that he felt unwanted at Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo spent most of the second half scowling on the bench. Both underlined their class, however, by scoring in the 2-0 defeat of Manchester City which put the champions three points clear of Liverpool at the top with three games remaining. Ronaldo's deflected free kick gave United the lead after 18 minutes but he was replaced by Wayne Rooney after the interval as manager Alex Ferguson opted to spare the Portuguese winger for crucial games ahead. Tevez, who got his wish for an all too rare start, was magnificent. His livewire display produced one stunning goal and he was only denied another by the woodwork. The Argentine was widely quoted in Sunday's newspapers as saying he wanted to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season and their will be no shortage of takers should he decide to pack his bags. Ferguson refused to be drawn on Tevez's future at the club, preferring instead to praise the striker and to play down Ronaldo's sulking fit. "I didn't read the papers," Ferguson told Sky Sports. "You hear things, but, look, he is a Manchester United player. The fans love him. Our fans love triers. When players try, the fans love that." Tevez was quoted in Sunday's News of the World saying: "I do not feel wanted. I feel bad over my situation...I guess what I'm saying is goodbye." On Ronaldo's reaction to being hauled off, Ferguson said: "He wanted to stay on, that's the simple reason." "He's in great form, but I have got to look at the bigger picture. He had an incredible performance at Arsenal in midweek, he ran his socks off. We have to think about how we get through our games and keeping him fresh." Ferguson said Ronaldo's attitude summed up the spirit at the club as they close in on the title and look forward to the Champions League final against Barcelona. "It's great when players want to play," he said. "Take Jonny Evans who was taken ill this morning. We put him on medication but he still said he wanted to play. "He was feeling his hamstring at half time but again he wanted to play on. That's the guts you want. I brought him off because I can't take chances at this stage of the season." United could be crowned English champions for the 18th time next Saturday if they earn four points from their next two matches away at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday and at home to Arsenal. NEWS: Unhappy Tevez expecting summer exit UNITED FANS! Check’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, Carlos Tevez Q&A Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistlerooy One on One David Beckham, George Best Ask A Silly Question Bryan Robson Boy's A Bit Special Danny Simpson Perfect XI Garth Crooks, Bryan Robson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona What Happened Next? David May, Norman Whiteside Sing When You’re Winning Dominic Monaghan, Ian Brown And Another Thing Being a Big Four fan Plus! Rate United players (and others) on Talentspotter