Manuel Pellegrini has responded to Jose Mourinho's latest jibe by telling his title rival to mind his own business and concentrate on Chelsea.
The latest in a string of digs at Manchester City has seen Mourinho argue in vain for Yaya Touré's suspension for kicking the Norwich striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel at the weekend.
The Chelsea manager's comments have been called mind games by some, but Pellegrini is too experienced to buy that. "I don't think those are mind games," he said. "I don't think any manager can be affected by those things.
"I don't talk about other teams – whether the FA should suspend a player from another team or whether the referee has given a bad decision to another team. The best way is to let the referees and the FA do their job.
"I don't respond to the things Mourinho says every week because then he will continue every week trying to talk about things that are not connected with football."
Pellegrini explained he had made an exception last Friday when he accused the Chelsea manager of lying about the money Chelsea have spent and the decisions City have been given by referees.
"I answered him once because, if you always stay silent, it seems like you agree with these things," he added. "He started talking about referees and Financial Fair Play. I don't think that is the way.
"We are still in all four competitions, we have a strong mentality and in the future we will see who does it better."
Mourinho, who began his return to English football by insisting he would be friends with everyone, has started to goad Pellegrini in the same way he attacked Arsène Wenger during his first stint at Stamford Bridge – now it is Manchester City, his most obvious rivals. Mourinho has been nothing but complimentary about David Moyes.
Wednesday's league encounter with Sunderland, their opponents in next month's League Cup final, is the first of three straight games at the Etihad that include Chelsea in the FA Cup and Barcelona in the Champions League.
Pellegrini said that Samir Nasri might be fit for the last of those but confirmed that neither Sergio Aguero nor Fernandinho would recover in time to face the Spanish champions. That would mean Touré being employed as a holding midfielder to screen City's back four, a role he is known to dislike.