War of words...
- Sat 08 Dec 2012, 8:40AM
- Posted by Nicola McCarthy
Most papers have picked up on the war of words that broke out between Roberto Mancini and his opposite number Sir Alex Ferguson as the two prepare to do battle.
The Manchester United boss got the verbal hostilities underway yesterday, but Mancini is by now well used to Ferguson’s ‘mind games.’
“There was only one flicker of irritation from Roberto Mancini and it was disguised with a smile after he was made aware how Sir Alex Ferguson, that master of the wind-up, had been taking a keen interest in the number of refereeing decisions that have gone in Manchester City's favour,” writes The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor.
“Ferguson had picked up on David Moyes's theme from last weekend and noted, conspiratorially, the frequency with which City had been awarded penalties.
“Mancini leant back in his chair and delivered his riposte. ‘"But I remember very well last year,"’ he said. ‘"[Ashley] Young, when he went swimming…"’
“Then the manager of the Premier League champions clasped his hands together and stooped his head in the manner of someone diving off the top board.
“His tone was one of exaggerated puzzlement. ‘"I think it was four or five times in the last 10 games and he [Ferguson] didn't say nothing."’
The City chief did however move to flatter his opponents by labelling them favourites to win the title race this year.
“Mancini regularly compared his team unfavourably to United – and even wrote off their title chances at one point – only for them to pip their neighbours to the Premier League crown last season,” reports The Daily Post.
“He denies that was a tactic to motivate his players and insists City, who now trail United by three points at the top, will be the underdogs at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.”
Mind games of his own making?