Manchester City boss Mark Hughes claims some of his fellow Premier League managers are ramping up the mind games because they never made it as top players.
City's huge summer spending spree means they are being talked about as a serious threat to the top four, with some managers even tipping them for an assault on the title.
But a clutch of bosses have been putting the boot in too.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, described City as a "small club with a small mentality'' while Arsenal and Liverpool counterparts Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez have attacked the way City's spending has distorted the transfer market.
Hughes, who played with distinction for Manchester United and Barcelona, questioned whether some managers spoke out because they had never been able to let their feet do the talking.
He told the Daily Express: "I have never had to court publicity myself because I played for top clubs. I was reticent to say too much at all when I was playing.
"The truth is I never had to, because my performances generated headlines anyway. I was good at what I did and that was enough.
"That has been my way for 45 years so I don't think I will suddenly become one for mind games. But other managers feel that their profile has been raised and they have to do that. Maybe it is because they have not played at a certain level.
"I'm aware managers are saying things about us at the moment but I see that as trying to ease pressure on themselves - that is predictable.''