Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers has accused Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini of being disrespectful to his side as they prepare to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The two Manchester clubs are locked in a battle for the Barclays Premier League title, with City’s 1-0 win over United at the Etihad Stadium putting them top on goal difference with two games remaining.
Mancini last week said United could beat Swansea 10-0, and followed that up this week by re-iterating that the fixture is an “easy” game for the reigning champions as he seeks to take some of the pressure off his squad.
But Rodgers says the Italian has not paid the south Wales club the level of respect they deserve by repeating his attempted mind games.
The Northern Irishman also took the chance to have a dig at the City boss by reminding him how the league leaders had come unstuck at the Liberty Stadium in March, despite their vast financial resources.
Asked if he thought Mancini’s comments were disrespectful, Rodgers said: “I think if you say it more than once it is.
“If you look at ourselves and the transition we have made from a Championship club into this level, the players have represented the club incredibly well in terms of the football we have played. Our analysis of our game, the preparation, the detail and commitment have been fantastic.
“It certainly won’t be an easy game (for United) and I think he knows that.
“He came here when we won the game 1-0 and we were clearly the better side and that was after Roberto spending about £235million on a team.
“So I think he knows as well as anyone it won’t be an easy game.”
Rodgers also believes Mancini is wasting his time if he thinks his words have had any effect on Swansea and United’s preparations for Sunday’s meeting, pointing out how experienced Sir Alex Ferguson and his men have historically proved to be in these situations.
“He is maybe trying to affect one or two things but it won’t affect us,” he said.
“We only worry about ourselves and I don’t think there is anyway in the world you can affect a group of players with the experience of Manchester United, and a manager who is a multiple winner.
“So certainly that comment, if it is to antagonise it won’t work with us and it won’t work with Manchester United.”
Twelfth-placed Swansea can already plan for a second season in the Premier League as the point garnered in last weekend’s remarkable 4-4 draw with Wolves secured safety.
Rodgers has already held meetings with chairman Huw Jenkins over potential transfer targets for next term.
On-loan midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson is one of the players Rodgers is keen to bring in.
The Iceland international has scored seven goals in 17 games since arriving from Hoffenheim, and has told the Bundesliga club he does not want to return to see out the final two years of his contract.
Reports have suggested that Swansea have had an initial offer rejected for the 22-year-old, but Rodgers would not be drawn on the subject and said he did not know what fee would be required to seal a permanent deal.
But he says his planning for the 2012-13 campaign is progressing well.
He said: “I met with the chairman again this afternoon.
“It is ongoing. We have got a number of targets, we want to retain our hunger and at this level you have to always be striving to improve and we will be looking to bring in a number of players in order to do that.
“It is going be a tough season next season. We are no longer the newcomers to the league.
“We want to keep developing, our work is continual on and off the field. We want to prepare as quickly as we can and in order to do that we want to bring in hungry players for next season.”