Manchester Derby Drips With Mind Games

Manchester Derby Drips With Mind Games

Let the mind games begin. So Sir Alex Ferguson thought at his pre-match press conference before Manchester United's final Champions League group stage match against Cluj on Wednesday night, a dead rubber for his team given that they had already secured qualification for the knock-out stages.

"There's nothing better than big European nights," he mused. "Every manager wants to do well in Europe - I do, anyway."

The English press pack are all too keen to load Ferguson's words with meaning. Too much is often read into them. But there was nothing abstract or indirect about this comment.

Ferguson had been asked for his opinion on Manchester City's failure to progress beyond the Champions League group stage for a second successive season. It was taken as Ferguson ever so slightly needling Roberto Mancini ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

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