London: Sir Alex Ferguson has slammed Alan Hansen's latest criticism of Manchester United, warning the former Liverpool defender will again be proved wrong after claiming they hadn't played well for 18 months.
Hansen's best-known remark as a pundit came in 1995 when, following a United defeat, he said that "you can't win anything with kids".
But a youthful side managed by Ferguson proved him wrong by finishing the season having won the Premier League and FA Cup 'double'.
Now the veteran boss has been riled by Hansen's latest comments regarding reigning Premier League champions United, who were knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool last weekend but are still only three points behind league leaders Manchester City.
Ferguson, in his programme notes for Tuesday's league match at home to Stoke, said: "After the Arsenal game, one of the London papers said we were the worst United team he has seen, and I noticed Alan Hansen was at it again, saying we had not played well for one-and-a half-years.
"I reckon that comment goes alongside his claim a few years ago that you don't win anything with youngsters, and you know how he ended up with egg on his face after dismissing the Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville crop of kids so foolishly.
"Maybe he was just trying to rattle us on the eve of going to play his old club at Anfield in the cup at the weekend.
"I don't know how some of the critics come to their conclusions.
"Yes, we have had our bad days (who doesn't?), losing to Manchester City and then folding against Blackburn before crashing out of the FA Cup.
"Forget the fact that we had 14 players out with injury for the Blackburn fixture and that we were missing a few at Liverpool; we won't use injuries as a crutch, we will simply concentrate on getting our message across out on the pitch.
"I have every confidence that we will give a good account of ourselves - even perhaps play well enough to convince pundit Hansen."
Ferguson has long enjoyed a fraught relationship with his fellow Scot.
Although Hansen was one of the most accomplished central defenders of his era, winning eight English championships and three European Cups with Liverpool, he was capped just 26 times by Scotland.
And Ferguson, when caretaker manager of Scotland after Jock Stein's death, left Hansen out of his squad for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, opting instead for the central defensive partnership of Willie Miller and Alex McLeish he'd nurtured while in charge of Aberdeen.