Manchester City's mind games won't wash with us, says Ferguson

 

Sir Alex Ferguson has said that Manchester United are too experienced to be drawn into any mind games played by his opposite number at Manchester City, Roberto Mancini.

The United manager said Mancini's claim that the title race was "finished", even though the champions' defeat at Wigan had cut the gap to five points, would have no impact at Old Trafford. Ferguson appeared to be bemused by suggestions from the City manager that United had a "better spirit".

"It's not a problem for us, that. It's a nice compliment," he said, adding that he was not fooled by suggestions the title race was already over. "I think he picked the wrong time to say that. There are still five games to go and the twists and turns of the Premier League are fascinating.

"It's back on, the title race. They haven't been playing well, but while I didn't see the West Brom game, 4-0 is a good result at this time of the season.

"It didn't matter to us at all what he said. 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. Do we have too much experience for these things? There is no doubt about that."

Mancini is probably not aware of the precise circumstances, but he is employing a tactic that Ferguson used to secure his first championship at Aberdeen in 1980. He announced then that the title was "Celtic's to throw away" and as a nine-point lead – in the days when two points were awarded for a win – was whittled down, throw it away was exactly what Celtic did.

It may just be coincidence but of the six matches United have lost in all competitions since the turn of the year, five have come when Paul Scholes has not started.

"We could have used him on Wednesday night," said Ferguson, who said Scholes would start tomorrow's game against Aston Villa. "But three games in seven days would have been a big ask for him. We thought that with Ryan Giggs' experience in the middle, doing without Scholesy would have been all right. But as it transpired, we didn't show."

United have confirmed they are one of a host of clubs interested in the Lille playmaker Eden Hazard. The 21-year-old Belgian has confirmed that this will be his last season in Ligue 1 and Lille have agreed that he can move in the summer, provided their asking price of €30m (£26m) is met.

The United coach Rene Meulensteen told the Dutch magazine Voetbal International: "The manager wants to see Hazard for himself, that's a sign he is an interesting player. We have talked a lot about him.

"Hazard is a special talent but it always takes a while. For example, we followed [the goalkeeper] David de Gea a long time before we got him. Ferguson wants to know the character of the player and, because of that, he is going to take a look himself. Hazard is 'the man' at Lille."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...