Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz has criticised the fans who booed manager Sir Alex Ferguson off the pitch after their 2-1 defeat to Blackburn.Queiroz told O Globo newspaper: “People have been crying out for us to use a 4-4-2 formation and we played with that system for the first time and lost.

“We played what the public wanted and lost. This is why in football stupidity and imagination have no limits.”

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who has endured a frosty relationship with Ferguson, sympathised, adding: “I found the booing appalling.”

He said: “You know I’m not Ferguson’s best friend and, of course, like the players we are only as a good as our last game.

“But what this guy has done for the club, I find it horrendous and nearly unbelievable.”

Ferguson himself played down the significance of the booing by evading questions posed by reporters ahead of tonight’ Champions League encounter with Benfica.

Askedwhether the last couple of days had been difficult for him in the wake of the booing, Ferguson responded: “Listen, I’m not getting into anything about myself. I thought that had been made clear. This is about our game against Benfica.”

“European nights have always been special at Old Trafford,” said Ferguson.

“They have always had an extra edge and I am sure the supporters will be great.

“I don’t want to talk about myself. The game is the most important thing and we are doing a good job getting the players back from Saturday’s defeat.”

Ferguson was subject to verbal abuse due to growing criticism over his team’s tactics and the surprising omission of Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up.