Sir Alex Ferguson has offered some comforting words to Chris Smalling after he was dropped in favour of Rio Ferdinand on Wednesday.
Smalling has deputised for the former England captain in sterling fashion during his absence through injury and displayed a degree of maturity few thought he had yet developed.
Ferguson, however, still opted to reinstate Ferdinand to the starting line up for the Champions League clash against Chelsea to resume his partnership with Nemanja Vidic.
As is often the case with Ferguson's decisions, it proved an inspired one, as Ferdinand shone like a beacon of excellence despite his protracted absence.
Yet, he admitted he found it hard to tell the 20-year-old callow defender he would not be starting the game.
"It was terrible for me to explain to Chris Smalling that wasn't playing given the way he has performed for us this season," said Ferguson.
"He understood. He is part of the squad and he won't be forgotten. But its Rio's experience isn't it? He has such composure. He talks to players.
"When Antonio Valencia went to full-back he was talking all the time. He was phenomenal."
Ferdinand had been out since injuring his calf in the warm up against Wolves in early February and it was feared he would miss the rest of the campaign.
And his imperious display on Wednesday night caught many by surprised given his length of time out, but it was something his manager knew he was capable of.
"I was waiting for the moment where he might tire a little bit but there was no sign of it," Ferguson added.
"He had done 10 days' physical work before he started football training. People might think it was a gamble.
"My only gamble was if he wasn't really up for it. Whether we had to talk him into it. That wasn't the case. He came to me. He said I am ready. It was great news."
What will the outcome be?
Man Utd win