Sir Alex Ferguson has claimed that Roberto Mancini’s mind games will not affect his Manchester United players because they are too experienced as the City boss tried to engage in a phoney psychological war with five games in the title race remaining.
United coach Meulensteen said: “At Manchester United everybody is used to the pressure for playing [for] the title. For the first in a long time City can become champions. That’s what’s breaking them. I’ve always thought that City wouldn’t hold the race. Their squad is out of balance, they’ve got too many individuals playing for themselves. Against Sunderland [in the 3-3 draw a fortnight ago] you could see that they don’t have team spirit.”
In response, Mancini said: “I agree. That’s the reason we can’t win. They have experience, they are a fantastic team and we have nothing. Sometimes it’s not about balance. Football is strange. They are perfect and we are the opposite. But I enjoy being with my players, I am proud of them. We make mistakes. We are not on the moon – we are normal.”
United face City in the Manchester derby on 30th April and Mancini was asked why he said Ferguson’s team would not lose any of their other four games, to put the title back in the balance. “I don’t think this. I think they are a perfect team, they have fantastic experience. They are not like us who have players who only think about themselves,” he said, again mocking Meulensteen.
Pressed, though, how his players respond when informed that they are egotistical, Mancini admitted: “When I speak with my players I say other things. I can’t say to you what I say to my players.”
After City beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 and United lost at 1-0 at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday evening Mancini made a similar claim, saying that Ferguson’s side had “fantastic spirit” while his did not, and that the title race was over.
But of these comments Ferguson said: “That didn’t matter to us at all. We all have opportunities to talk about it. If you want to use it as mind games, you can do that but it didn’t mean anything to us. I think he maybe picked the wrong time to say it. There’s five games still to go.”
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