Alex Ferguson hits back at Roberto Mancini over Carlos Tevez U-turn

'Desperate' City! United boss Ferguson hits back at rival Mancini over Tevez U-turn

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 23 March 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson taunted Roberto
Mancini over his U-turn on Carlos Tevez and challenged the Manchester
City manager to a mental duel during the
title run-in.

Ferguson, a master at destabilising title rivals with
a carefully planted barb, broke into a broad grin at
Patrick Vieira's claim that bringing Paul Scholes
out of retirement smacked of desperation.

On the attack: Sir Alex Ferguson watches on during training on Friday

On the attack: Sir Alex Ferguson watches on during training on Friday

He claimed Vieira, City's football development executive, had been put up to it by Mancini and accused his opposite number of having launched the psychological warfare at the beginning of this month.

Ferguson said: 'If desperation is bringing back the best midfield player in Britain over the last 20 years, then I think we can accept that. I think Vieira was programmed for that.

'If you're talking desperation, they were playing a player the other night who refused to go on the pitch, and the manager said he'll never play again.

You're having a laugh Paul Scholes sees the funny side at Carrington

You're having a laugh Paul Scholes sees the funny side at Carrington

'Then he takes a five-month
holiday in Argentina.
What is that Does that come
under the description of mandesperation Would I have picked him Do I really need to answer that No, I don't need to answer it.'

Ferguson claimed Mancini had started the verbal set-to after City's 2-0 home win over Bolton this month. Asked if he would be watching United's game at Spurs the following day, Mancini had replied: 'No, I already know the result.'

Yesterday Ferguson said: 'I think Roberto had a wee dig a couple of weeks back, just before we went to Tottenham. I think that was him trying to put some pressure on, but that's fine. Nothing wrong with that. You'll always get that kind of thing to try and unnerve the team, if not the manager. We're all going to play our hand that way, and I can tell you I've got plenty of ammunition.'

You've been warned! Patrice Evra

You've been warned! Wayne Rooney

You've been warned: Patrice Evra (left) and Wayne Rooney make their point during Friday's session

Ferguson saluted Scholes'
enduring ability to dominate
games, even at the age of 37,
and took Vieira to task for
suggesting United should be
doing more to hold on to
emerging young talent like
Ravel Morrison.

'He's useless, is Scholes,' he
said with a smile as he reflected
on a record of eight wins and
one draw in the nine games
since the former England midfielder
returned to the fold.

'What he does is dictate the
tempo and rhythm of a match.

'Experience helps, of course,
and he has a terrific football
brain, too. The amazing thing is
he made the decision at the
time simply because he didn't
want to play 25 games – he
wanted to play 50 games, that's
the reason he wanted to retire.

'The point Vieira makes about
Ravel Morrison, and losing our
young players – we wanted to
sell Ravel Morrison, let's be
clear about that, for obvious
reasons.

Back in favour: Carlos Tevez finally made his return for City against Chelsea

Back in favour: Carlos Tevez finally made his return for City against Chelsea

'But we want Paul Pogba to
stay because we think he is
going to be a fantastic
Manchester United player, and
hopefully that will be the case.''

Ferguson stressed his determination
to hold off City's
challenge and keep the title at
Old Trafford.

'The borders have been
changed a bit, if you look at our
main competitors,' he said. 'It
has always been Liverpool, but
now it's City. Either way,
whether it's Liverpool or City,
you desperately want to beat
them. Whatever it is – at tiddlywinks
or ludo, anything. It's
more important, because it is
one of your rivals. Your city
rivals, in fact.