Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted he did have a row with skipper Roy Keane at Manchester United's training camp in Portugal last month.
But Ferguson insisted it was just one of many spats between two passionate people who care about their club.
Ferguson said: "Roy and I had a few words, we're combustible characters, and we're always having arguments.
"That doesn't affect the respect I have for him and I don't think it lessens my standing as a manager in his eyes."
The row is believed to have centered on Ferguson's decision to invite family members to United's Algarve base when Keane thought the trip should have been for players only.
Ferguson denied the row prompted Keane's omission from United's Far Eastern pre-season tour, with injury given as the official reason for the Irishman's absence.
The United boss played down the row, saying it was no bigger or more significant than others the pair had.
Ferguson said: "Did Roy walk out? Did we come to blows? Of course not.
"I wish I had a pound for every row I've had with Roy Keane. He cares and I care and every so often we clash in pursuit of our ambitions.
"I feel slightly stupid having to explain the background to all these petty disputes but the media make so much out of them I cannot let them go unchallenged."
Ferguson also made light of the high-profile bust-up between Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy after the final whistle of United's defeat to Kashima Antlers.
Van Nistelrooy ranted at Ferdinand for failing to pass the ball to him, but Ferguson passed it off as an illustration of the hunger for victory he demands from his players.
Ferguson said: "It was one of those things which happens all the time in games and in training.
"The difference was that it came near the end of defeat and tempers were probably a bit frayed, so it looked worse than it was.
"But in my book, there's nothing wrong with players feeling passionate about their performance and a result, even if it does end up in an argument."