Saturday 27 May 2017

Fergie insists City 'getting carried away'

Ian Herbert

ALEX Ferguson suggested on the eve of another hugely resonant derby match that Manchester City's fans would rather see silverware than hear boasts from the club's marketing department about their team and appeared to deliver a dig at the club's chief executive, Garry Cook, for "getting carried away."

Ferguson, who suggested the Carlos Tevez poster which so infuriated him last season will have "embarrassed" fans, ridiculed the supporter who had "Manchester City -- Champions League winners 2011" tattooed on his right shoulder at the start of last season and placed City's directors in the same category as him.

"Unfortunately fans are just as bad as directors," Ferguson said. "A lot of supporters would probably prefer to see a trophy paraded before they start getting carried away (and) screaming from the rooftops."

blow

While a cool Roberto Mancini -- who was dealt a blow when Mario Balotelli's three-game ban was upheld yesterday -- refused to enter into the pre-match skirmishes, declared Ferguson "the best manager in the world," the United manager could not resist another dig at the Tevez 'Welcome to Manchester' poster which still rankles.

"It was probably some advertising gimmick somewhere along the line, but I don't think they can be proud of it," he said. "I don't see how they thought that would get more points off us as opposed to playing against us on a football pitch."

Ferguson did not refer by name to Cook, with whom he is acquainted having spent a cordial evening seated beside him at Manchester Town Hall two years ago, but the chief executive's suggestion in New York after City's 2-1 Carling Cup semi-final first-leg win over United in January that City were on course to overtake United and become "without doubt the biggest and best football club in the world" has not been lost on the opposing manager.

Whatever about this, City have nonetheless been making an impact on their rivals.

Wayne Rooney was mesmerised this summer by the near £200,000-a-week salary of City's Yaya Touré and by flirting with departure across Manchester has secured himself £30,000-a-week more than United were initially willing to pay.

The closest Mancini got to any level of pre-match provocation was his suggestion that City's current view of United is "we understand we can always beat them now."

That certainly seems to be the case this evening, with United missing Rooney, Ryan Giggs and almost certainly Nani. Ferguson is also unsure who will have recovered from the virus which laid him low last week and forced him to send his players home yesterday; Dimitar Berbatov has been unwell.

For City, Emmanuel Adebayor reported a calf strain on Monday, but may be fit to play. City are indignant about the FA's decision to refuse to reduce Balotelli's three-match ban for his straight red card at West Bromwich to one match, particularly since Tom Huddlestone has escaped a ban for what seemed a more clear-cut offence -- a stamp on Bolton's Johan Elmander.

caustic

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan's long-awaited first league triumph over United at the stadium Ferguson likes to call the "Temple of Doom" would more than compensate -- though the Scot was caustic about notions that City were a challenge to be headed off.

"Excuse me, Chelsea won the League last season," Ferguson said. "That's our challenge. We have to chase Chelsea and if you don't recognise who won the League the year before, then you're very foolish."

Meanwhile, Ferguson has reluctantly accepted the departure of his reserve-team manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was named yesterday as the new manager of Molde, the Norwegian top-flight side from which United signed him in 1996. (© Independent News Service)

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