Let the mind games begin! Fergie sticks boot into rivals City and insists they are the ones who are 'desperate' after bringing back Tevez
11:36 GMT, 23 March 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson has launched an amazing attack on Manchester City and warned them he has “plenty of ammunition” if they want to engage in mind games.
Earlier this week, former Blues midfielder Patrick Vieira said the decision to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement smacked of desperation.
However, United have won nine Premier League games and drawn one with Scholes in the team, suggesting the move has worked.
Hitting out: Sir Alex Ferguson has launched an attack on rivals City
It certainly has provided Ferguson
with the opportunity to hit back in a week when Carlos Tevez has made
his controversial return to the Manchester City fold.
'If it's desperation bringing the
best midfielder in Britain back for the last 20 years then I think we
can accept that,' said Ferguson.
'I think he (Vieira) was programmed
for that. Roberto had a wee dig a couple of weeks back. We're all going
to play our hand that way. There will be plenty of ammunition for that.
Back in favour: Carlos Tevez finally made his return for City against Chelsea
'If you talk about desperation, they
played a player the other night who refused to go on the pitch, the
manager said he'd never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in
Argentina. What is that Could that come under the description of
Ferguson also rejected Vieira's
assertion that a further sign of United struggling was their inability
to keep hold of Ravel Morrison during the January transfer window and
their on-going battle to retain Paul Pogba.
'The point he made about Ravel
Morrison and losing our young players – we wanted to sell him (Morrison)
let's be clear about that, for obvious reasons.
Golden oldie: Paul Scholes was lured out of retirement by Ferguson
'But we want Pogba to stay because we
think he's going to be a fantastic Manchester United player and
hopefully that's the case.'
Ferguson confirmed he expects to have a
strong squad available after Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Fabio, Tom
Cleverley and Pogba all came through a reserve-team outing against Aston
Villa on Thursday night.
'Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have
been in and out in particular in terms of illness and injuries over the
last couple of months,' said Ferguson.
'Tom Cleverley, Paul Pogba and Fabio all had a game. We took Paul off purely because he will be involved on Monday.
Prodigy: Paul Pogba is rated highly by Manchester United
'It puts us in a position where we have quite a strong squad now. We are only waiting on Nani and Michael Owen. We expect both of them to restart training next week.'
United may be back in second spot by the time they face Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday, although victory will ensure they regain the leadership.
'Every game is must-win now,” said Ferguson. 'That is no issue for me. I have been used to that for years. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going.'
Ferguson has also hailed Jonny Evans' contribution to the United cause this season.
The Northern Ireland international has featured more often in central defence for United than any other player in this injury-ravaged campaign.
The 24-year-old even managed to score his first goal for the club in their five-goal hammering of Wolves at the weekend.
Making strides: Jonny Evans has impressed in Nemanja Vidic's absence
With Jones and Smalling available for Monday's Premier League encounter with Fulham at Old Trafford, Evans is facing renewed pressure for his first-team spot.
However, Ferguson seems certain to stick with Evans, whose ability helped make up United's mind to sell Gerard Pique to Barcelona in 2008.
'He's playing regularly and I think that helps,' said Ferguson. 'He is still a young player of course and when they get runs of games it helps with their consistency. His partnership with Rio has been very good.'
In fact, after Nemanja Vidic was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury, Ferguson believes Ferdinand has been a major influence on Evans.
'A lot of it has to do with Rio actually because he's really helped Jonny,' said Ferguson. Jonny's always had terrific ability and it's good to see he's in consistent form.'