Fergie hands title to Manchester City?

He didn’t exactly embarrass himself with a Rafa Benitez-style ‘These are facts’ rant. But City clearly got to him – image from skysports.com

And so the mind games begin. Manchester City vs Manchester United. Rio Ferdinand vs Patrick Vieira vs Sir Alex Ferguson vs Roberto Mancini. Sir Alex has hit back at Manchester City, following criticism from Patrick Vieira directed at the 19-time league champions earlier this week. The former City and Arsenal midfielder told The Daily Telegraph that Manchester United’s decision to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement showed “weakness”. With the mind games well and truly under way in the race for the Premier League title, City have gotten the bite they were looking for.

The Manchester United boss, often dubbed ‘The King of the Mind Games’, has been riled into a response and has warned City he has “plenty of ammunition” at his disposal if the Noisy Neighbours are looking to engage in psychological warfare. He started pretty comfortably, demonstrating his experience in these kind of situations.

“I think he [Vieira] was programmed for that,” said Ferguson.

“Roberto had a wee dig a couple of weeks back. We’re all going to play our hand that way. There will be plenty of ammunition for that.”

There you have it – two fingers to you Man City. You really think you can outmanoeuvre me in the mind games?! I invented mind games! But maybe he ought to have left it there. While he didn’t exactly lose his cool and digress into a Rafael Benítez-style ‘These are facts, Mr Vieira’ rant (if you watch that one in slow motion, you can actually see the moment Liverpool lost the title), his subsequent comments definitely suggested that City had gotten to him. Vieira had also pointed to Manchester United’s failure to hold on to Ravel Morrison during the January transfer window as another sign that the champions were struggling, along with their battle to keep Paul Pogba at Old Trafford.

“The point he made about Ravel Morrison and losing our young players – we wanted to sell him [Morrison] let’s be clear about that, for obvious reasons,” the United gaffer insisted.

Come on Fergie, don’t play into their hands. Surely you answer to no one? You should not find yourself in a position where you have to explain yourself to Manchester City.

He then added: “If you talk about desperation, they played a player the other night who refused to go on the pitch. The manager said he’d never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in Argentina. What is that? Could that come under the description of desperation?”

He’s definitely got a point there and things are hotting up nicely ahead of the showdown on April 30. But did he really need to get involved? Not that I’m not qualified to advise Sir Alex on how to play his own game but perhaps it would have been cooler to leave it at ‘I know exactly what you’re doing and don’t worry, I’ll not be falling for it’. But he did rise to it and if he’d carried on much longer, he was in danger of uttering the words: “And I’ll tell ya, honestly, I will love it if we beat them. Love it.”

Looking forward to April 30. Love it.

[quote]If it’s desperation bringing back the best midfielder in Britain for the last 20 years then I think we can accept that.

Fair point by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson[/quote]

April 30: Manchester City vs Manchester United