Fulham's Danny Murphy made the claim last month, causing a storm of protest from the men concerned, which also included Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce.

As someone whose own Manchester United team has successfully overcome Stoke and Wolves - who visit Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday - over the past 10 days, Ferguson is uniquely placed to assess the two sides and the Scot does not feel Pulis and McCarthy are guilty of any crime beyond wanting the best for their team.

"It is an insult to the managers of the teams, because you couldn't get two more honest guys than Tony Pulis and Mick McCarthy," he told Inside United.

"Their job is to get their players committed and motivated. There is nothing wrong with that.

"I know more about Tony Pulis' team because they have been in the league longer. They have always been honest.

"Mick was an aggressive player himself and his teams play in a similar way but you don't get punished for that. You can't say they are any different from any team that's come out of the Championship to survive in the Premier League.

"Sometimes it takes years to get to the next level of play and maintain that higher standard."

Known for his own aggressive style during his playing days in Scotland, Ferguson does not believe current standards come close to comparing with what he was used to.

"The players are babies now," he said.

"In my day you had to hit someone with a hatchet before a referee booked you. It's a different game now."