Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini blasted Premier League teams for ‘playing soft’ and handing over the title to United, according to The Guardian.

Mancini’s critique comes on the verge of the Manchester derby tonight at the Old Trafford, in which City will try to close the 15 point gap between them and the league-leading Red Devils.

“No one plays well with United because they only play with fear,” said Mancini. “Every team that plays against United plays very soft because they think the game is difficult, that they can’t beat them. It is not true.”

The 48-year-old manager blames the dominant perception that Sir Alex Ferguson has created at the Old Trafford, saying “United have been a strong team for a long time,” and that teams competing against them may give 100 per cent, but have a poor mentality.

The Italian also claimed that City hope build that same empire state of mind, even though currently, they “don’t have the same importance like United in this moment.”

“Maybe in 10 years it will be the same. The history is very important. We need to improve as a team, as a club. If we win every year, probably it will also be the same for us.”

Fergie, on the other hand, attributed United’s dominance this season with his players’ conviction and disappointment at losing the title to City by the difference of a goal last season, saying the team had “a definite purpose in terms of getting the title back”.

“We have improved. That’s the difficulty for [City]. Even if their points tally was as good as it was this time last season, it wouldn’t have matched ours. So you have to give us credit for that.”

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