Sir Alex Ferguson has ridiculed ex-Manchester City midfielder Patrick Vieira's assertion Manchester United have shown "weakness" in bringing back Paul Scholes.
The Scot said he had "plenty of ammunition" to fire over the fence of United's noisy neighbours, as the duo vie for the Premier League title.
"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?"
Carlos Tevez returned to the City fold after five-month exile, despite his manager Roberto Mancini insisting him playing again for the club was "impossible".
Vieira, City's football development executive, told the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday: "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."
"If it's desperation bringing back the best midfielder in Britain for the last 20 years then I think we can accept that," Ferguson declared at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
City stuff United 6-1:
"Roberto had a wee dig a couple of weeks back. We're all going to play our hand that way. There will be plenty of ammunition for that."
Ferguson has in the past labelled City a "small club with a small mentality" and has mocked City-supporting journalists who have covered United for the Manchester Evening News.
"What are you doing here? Can't get into Europe with your own team so you have to latch onto us? Well I'm telling you nowt you little Blue spy!" he memorably informed one Blues fan working for the MEN last decade.
City are away at Stoke on Saturday evening, which offers them the chance to move above United temporarily, who host Fulham on Monday night.
Both clubs also face one another at the Etihad Stadium for the fourth derby of the season on 30 April. United have won two of the three derby clashes this season but were annihilated 6-1 by City at Old Trafford in October. That was sandwiched in between the Red Devils registering two 3-2 wins in the Community Shield and the FA Cup.
Rio Ferdinand yesterday claimed a number of City fans had come "out of the woodwork" now the club was competing for trophies again, after the 2008 Abu Dhabi United Group took over the club.
United struggle past 10-man City in the FA Cup:
City ended a 35-year trophy drought with the FA Cup win in 2011, but United have won 29 major trophies to City's one since the Citizens' 1976 League Cup triumph.