Rio Ferdinand has compared the attitude of Manchester City players to that of Manchester United’s ahead of the semi-final clash this weekend.

During City’s 3-0 thrashing at Anfield this week, James Milner, who has done little to justify the £26 million which was paid for him, was visibly annoyed at being subbed off.

Rio has implied that the unrest at City, from the frequent training ground bust-ups to their captains transfer request, is a result of having players who don’t really want to be there.

“You don’t see anyone come off the pitch shaking their head or being disgruntled or sitting on the bench in a sulk at this club,” said Rio. “That’s because everyone is delighted to play for this club and they all want to be here. The moment you show a bit of dissent like that, the manager pulls rank, and rightly so. It keeps people on their toes. People want to play here, they don’t want to be part of any other squad, and that’s the way it is at United. It comes out of respect for the manager, the club itself and the people who are here before you and present as well. There’s an unwritten rule here. You see it in the changing-room before games – there are no cliques. Players are wishing each other well before games, even if someone else is playing in your position. That’s just the way we are.”

Just months before signing for City, Yaya Toure’s agent said: “If he does leave Barca he will not go to Manchester City because he will sign for a bigger club.”

Just one montb before signing for City, David Silva said: “When you hear a club like Manchester United is interested in you it is an honour. I am very aware of the Premier League, and in recent years it has been the stand-out league in the world. If it came calling, especially if it was a club like Manchester United, it would be very hard to resist.”

A few months before leaving United, Tevez said: “I want to stay but the club have not made any offer. I’ve been waiting for them for a year and a half.” And a few months before that he said: “I cannot ever imagine leaving Manchester United. I am in the perfect situation. My relationship with the club is perfect. Patrice Evra is my closest friend but the feeling I get from all the players is something I’ve not experienced before. I want to get the contract sorted and play for United for the rest of my career.”

Is it any wonder the team spirit at City is so poor when their best players wish they played for a better club?