Sir Alex Ferguson has defended the decision to bring three of his young players back from loan spells at Preston.
The Manchester United boss was thought to have made the move to spite Preston following their decision to sack his son Darren as manager.
The Lilywhites' chairman Maurice Lindsay spoke of his shock at the move, which cost his club the services of Ritchie de Laet, Matty James and Joshua King.
But Ferguson has decided to set the record straight, claiming it was the players' wish to return from the Championship strugglers, a view that has been explained personally by the United boss to Preston owner and fellow horse-racing fan Trevor Hemmings.
"I spoke with the owner, Trevor Hemmings, with whom I have a good relationship, and explained that the players did not want to go back," he said.
"Our reserve team coach, Warren Joyce, spoke to me about it. We decided that the players should go to training that day and we would discuss it later.
"We decided that if the players did not want to go back, there was no point in them being there.
"Matty James was already injured and both Ritchie de Laet and Josh King were coming back in two days' time anyway, so under the regulations, we decided to keep them."
James and King had been on loan at Deepdale since August while de Laet joined in November.