Mancini and Ferguson trade penalty barbs ahead of Manchester derby

Unable to wait until their sides meet in the Premier League’s first Manchester derby of the season, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his Manchester City counterpart Roberto Mancini have already begun the battle, the Daily Mail has reported.

Ferguson claimed in his pre-match press conference that City receive an inordinate amount of penalties at their Etihad Stadium ground, while Mancini claimed in reply that the penalties won by United winger Ashley Young have come because the player is a diver.

Mancini in fact claimed that when Young won a penalty at Old Trafford against Aston Villa last season, he was not so much diving as swimming in the penalty area. The Italian also claimed Ferguson was “clever” to raise the issue now, so close to the match.

The Mail calculated that since the start of the 2010/11 season, the Manchester clubs have been given the same number of penalties as each other, 21, while at home, City have had 20 to United’s 13. But last season United had more home penalties than City, nine to the champions’ eight.

Last season City won both of the matches between the two clubs, including a famous 6-1 rout at Old Trafford in which Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli each bagged a brace, and a 1-0 win at Eastlands late in the season through a Vincent Kompany goal. No penalties were awarded in either fixture.

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