War of Words ensues between Ferguson and Mancini before Manchester derby
Sir Alex Ferguson has voiced his unhappiness over the number of penalties awarded to Manchester City over the past year. The Manchester United manager was once again playing mind games and to good effect as his actions drew a hostile reply from an agitated and under-pressured Roberto Mancini.
The Manchester City manager and Sir Alex Ferguson became the center of controversy in a derby last following an exchange of bitter words. Similar drama can be expected this season as both men have refused to back down from the war of words.
The Old Trafford boss suggests Manchester City have been allowed an unfair amount of penalty kicks during the past year, although his report reflected statistics from the past three seasons. An interesting fact from the report is that Manchester City have been allowed 21 penalty kicks from which 20 have been allowed at home, the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City have picked up penalty kicks in the last three matches, therefore, Sir Alex Ferguson’s concern seems justified. Referee for the mega showdown on Sunday will be Martin Atkinson, a man no stranger to controversy.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who has predicted this Manchester derby to be one of his biggest victories with Manchester United, hopes Martin Atkinson will be able to avoid controversy this weekend.
“The number of penalty kicks they get, 21 in the last year or something like that,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. “If we got that number of penalty kicks there'd be an inquiry in the House of Commons. There'd be a protest.”
Roberto Mancini countered Sir Alex Ferguson’s accusations by suggesting that Manchester United have been awarded the same number of penalties in the same duration. The Eastlands boss declared that Sir Alex Ferguson had brought forth this topic to create tension before the Manchester derby.
“I think four or five times in the last 10 games [last season] and then [Ferguson] didn't say anything, but this can happen,” Roberto Mancini said.
“Fergie [Sir Alex Ferguson] is clever for this. I think in the last 15 years there have been some penalties for them. Not a lot, but two or three in the last 15 years,” the Italian coyly said.
The diving issue didn’t escape Roberto Mancini’s mouth. The Manchester City manager reminded reporters about how Ashley Young won penalties for Manchester United with dives against Queens Park Rangers and Aston Villa in successive matches last season.
“I remember very well last year. When Young was swimming in the ...” Roberto Mancini added with a diving gesture.
With such war of words expect the Manchester derby to unusually fierce. Moreover, the result of this match could change the pecking order on top of the English Premier League. Manchester United have a three-point lead over Manchester City, but in case of defeat Roberto Mancini’s side will topple the English giants on better goal difference.