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Saturday, December 8, 2012
Fergie and Mancini spark war of words

ESPN staff

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has questioned the number of penalties awarded to City over the past 12 months, drawing a hostile reply from his counterpart Roberto Mancini ahead of the Manchester derby.

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Ferguson's jibe was aimed at the amount of spot-kicks City have been given since the start of the 2010-11 season, though his figures actually reflect the past three seasons. During this time City's penalty rate numbers 21 in total, 20 of which have come on home soil.

Indeed, Mancini's men have had penalties in their last three matches, and Ferguson is hoping Sunday's referee Martin Atkinson does not add to that tally.

"The number of penalty kicks they get, 21 in the last year or something like that," said Ferguson.

"If we got that number of penalty kicks there'd be an inquiry in the House of Commons. There'd be a protest."

Mancini, though, pointed out that United have been awarded the same number of penalties in exactly the same time period. The Italian believes the comments were simply created by Ferguson to add to tensions ahead of the derby.

"I think four or five times in the last 10 games [last season] and then [Ferguson] didn't say anything, but this can happen.

"Fergie is clever for this. I think in the last 15 years there have been some penalties for them. Not a lot, but two or three in the last 15 years," he joked.

Mancini also responded to Ferguson's criticism by suggesting Ashley Young won penalties for United with dives against QPR and Aston Villa in consecutive games last season.

"I remember very well last year. When Young was swimming in the ... " he said, gesturing like a swimmer diving into the water.

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