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Sir Alex Ferguson has branded Gus Poyet’s criticism of Patrice Evra “inappropriate” and “a bit silly” after the Brighton & Hove manager waded into the race row involving his compatriot Luis Suárez.

Liverpool striker Suárez has been charged by the English Football Association with making racist comments to Evra during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw at Anfield last month. United boss Ferguson has blasted Poyet, who accused Evra of “crying like a baby” over the matter, while revealing he would defend Suárez “to the hilt”.

“Gus Poyet’s remarks are inappropriate at this time,” Ferguson said. 

“People throughout the world are condemning racism. He has chosen the wrong time.

“I can understand why he wants to support someone from his country but he has to think about it more. I don’t know how the question has been loaded but it seems his criticism of Evra is a bit silly.”

Ferguson takes his United side to Swansea today with impressive 19-year-old Phil Jones boosted by a ringing endorsement from England manager Fabio Capello.

United snapped Jones up from Blackburn in the summer for £17million (DhXm) and Ferguson is delighted with the England man’s development.

“Since he has joined us, his improvement has been really eye-catching,” said the United boss.

“We know he is 19. We know it is a big step up coming from Blackburn to Manchester United. But the boy has been absolutely fantastic.

“He can play anywhere, I am sure of that. He is versatile. He is two-footed. He is quick. He has good perception of the game.

“I am not surprised what Fabio is saying.

“He can be a really influential player for us and England over the next few years.”

Ferguson also confirmed yesterday that midfielder Tom Cleverly would be miss today’s match as he will be out of action until Christmas with ankle ligament damage.

And Fergie remains wary of the promoted Welsh side.

“Everyone has been taken by Swansea and the way they have played,” said Ferguson.

“They have kept their philosophy of playing good football and had 67-per-cent possession at Liverpool, which is very good at a place like Anfield.

“We know we have a tough game but with the internationals over, now we have an opportunity to get some consistency over the next three months.”