Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Feisty Fergie Up for Battle ; Sir Alex Ignores Roberto Mancini's Mind Games but Vows the Reds Won't Be Beaten on Goal Difference Again, Writes Stuart Mathieson

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Feisty Fergie Up for Battle ; Sir Alex Ignores Roberto Mancini's Mind Games but Vows the Reds Won't Be Beaten on Goal Difference Again, Writes Stuart Mathieson

Article excerpt

PULIS STOKES OWEN RUMOURS STOKE boss Tony Pulis is still hopeful of bringing in former England striker Michael Owen.

The 32-year-old is a free agent after being released by Manchester United, although his wage demands could make a deal difficult.

Pulis already has Peter Crouch, Jon Walters, Mamady Sidibe, Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome - and he would probably need to sell one of the latter two.

He said: "Michael hasn't gone anywhere and it's still a possibility. There's still stuff happening and going on. Whether we can do a deal or not is another matter.

"I've always said he's a good player and someone I think people in the club would like to have around.

"He's a great professional as well and Crouchy has shown what great professionals can do for the football club."

THE first dose of mind games of the new Premier League season was laughed off by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

City rival Roberto Mancini says the Reds are favourites for the 2013 crown - not his champions.

But 19-times title-winner Fergie jokingly dismissed the Italian's opening effort in the psychological warfare.

"We are favourites every week according to him," said the Old Trafford manager. "Is he ever going to realise he has got a decent team himself?" Manchester's toe-to-toe challenge for the league crown captivated the nation last season and Fergie believes it will be a local battle again come next May.

But he is warning goal difference will not settle this issue next time around.

"If you ask me who I think are our biggest threat this season then it's Man City without question," he said.

"Chelsea have won the European Cup. It is a trophy Roman Abramovich has been after.

"He has now got excited again and loosened the purse strings to sign a few players.

"I am almost certain they will be challenging. But I look at Manchester City as our biggest danger.

"That rivalry has been going on for 100 years, not just last year. Neighbours are neighbours.

Derby games never change. The defeat at Old Trafford was one reason we lost the league on goal difference. …

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