Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is the king of psyching out opponents, always knowing the perfect time to use the media to sow a seed of doubt or to pile the pressure on his opposite number—just ask former Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan.

Roberto Mancini, the man charged with leading City to their first title, is having to spend as much time dealing with questions about United and Sir Alex as he is about his own team, and the pressure is starting to show.

A couple of weeks ago, after losing to Arsenal, Mancini told reporters that City were still able to catch United. The following week, after a victory, he told the same reporters that the title race was over, and it was impossible to catch United. In a press conference this week, he predicted his team would lose the big game on Monday.

The mixed messages are bound to be having an effect on the confidence of Mancini’s players, and will definitely be bringing a wry smile to the face of Ferguson, but will they make a difference come Monday afternoon? We’ll have to wait and see.