Sir Alex Ferguson has turned the tables on Manchester City by accusing Roberto Mancini of desperation by bringing back Carlos Tevez.
City ambassador Patrick Vieira used the self-same jibe earlier in the week as he assessed the reasoning behind Paul Scholes' January retirement U-turn and when Ferguson saw former player Tevez return from six months in the wilderness in City's successful midweek comeback against Chelsea, the Scot felt it was time to go on the offensive.
"If it's desperation bringing back the best midfielder in Britain for the last 20 years then I think we can accept that," said Ferguson. "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?"
It was classic Ferguson. Pre-planned, certainly judging by a private comment from one of his backroom staff later.
"He said he was going to drop a bomb," said the chuckling source.
And now City know they are in a fight for real, with Ferguson using tactics that destroyed Kevin Keegan and Rafael Benitez and reduced Arsene Wenger to fury until the pair later made their peace, tactics learned at the feet of the Scot's master, Jock Stein.
"He did (teach me)," said Ferguson.
"I was at Rangers, there were four games to go, and he says 'Rangers can only throw it away' - and we did."