Paul Scholes return was another Sir Alex Ferguson masterstroke: Nicky Butt

The return of Scholes was yet another Ferguson psychological masterstroke, says Butt

Nicky Butt believes Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson pulled off a psychological masterstroke by confirming Paul Scholes was coming out of retirement just before the Manchester derby.

United went into the FA Cup third-round tie at the Etihad Stadium on a downer following back-to-back Barclays Premier League defeats, but appeared to be given a lift by the news of Scholes' return, which broke just an hour before kick-off.

Back in the swing: Paul Scholes reneged on his decision to retire, to the surprise of team-mates and fans alike

Back in the swing: Paul Scholes reneged on his decision to retire, to the surprise of team-mates and fans alike

Ferguson's men swept into a 3-0 lead by half-time and, as City tore into their opponents after half-time, Scholes was brought on to help stabilise the midfield and seal a thrilling 3-2 win.

'It was a smart move by the manager,' former United midfielder Butt told MUTV.

'It took all the attention off their home record and the bookmakers' odds and switched all the attention to Paul Scholes and Manchester United. It was a great little bit of psychology.'

Old pals: Scholes and Nicky Butt (right) won trophies galore at Old Trafford

Old pals: Scholes and Nicky Butt (right) won trophies galore at Old Trafford

Having spent so many years playing alongside Scholes, who retired at the end of last season, Butt knows exactly what his old team-mate can add to United's quest for honours.

'You are not going to get a better player than Paul Scholes,' he said. 'He is a phenomenal player. He can do what no one else can do.

'He dictates play and keeps things simple. There is no one better at doing that. It is a massive boost for everyone at the club.'