Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson came out firing in Friday morning's press conference—biting back at Patrick Vieira for saying he brought Paul Scholes out of retirement through desperation and drawing battle lines with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini.
Vieira was no stranger to clashing with Ferguson and United during his playing days under Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Now serving as City's Football Development executive, Vieira drew fresh blood with his comments this week.
"For him (Scholes) to come back just shows a little bit of weakness in United, because they had to bring a player back who was 37," Vieira told the Daily Telegraph.
"Desperation? Paul Scholes is the best midfielder for the last 20 years," Ferguson said of Vieira's comments. "I think Vieira is programmed for that."
Ferguson then took the fight to Mancini—whose City team are a point behind United at the top of the Premier League and face a potentially decisive showdown with the 19-time league champions when the Manchester clubs clash at The Etihad on Monday April 30.
"Roberto had a wee dig a couple of weeks back," Ferguson said. "We're all going to play our hand that way. There will be plenty of ammunition for that.
"If you talk about desperation, they played a player the other night who refused to go on the pitch. The manager said he'd never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in Argentina. What is that? Could that come under the description of desperation?"
Ferguson was of course referring to the return of Carlos Tevez, who made his first appearance since September last year when he came off the substitutes' bench to set up City's winner against Chelsea in midweek.