Mancini: We'll ignore Reds
City boss tells players not to get involved in Twitter row with Red Devils' stars
Manchester City have warned their players not to become embroiled in a Twitter feud with their Manchester United rivals amid growing anger at the Etihad Stadium over City-related tweets by the likes of Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.
With both Rooney and Ferdinand tweeting their support of referee Chris Foy's decision to dismiss City captain Vincent Kompany for a two-foot tackle on Nani during United's FA Cup victory between the two clubs earlier this month, prior to Rooney using Twitter to question Robert Mancini's card-waving gesture during City's Premier League victory at Wigan on Monday, it is understood that senior figures within Mancini's squad have voiced their displeasure.
Several members of City's first-team squad are users of the social-networking site, with Kompany, Micah Richards, Adam Johnson, Pablo Zabaleta, Sergio Aguero, Nigel de Jong, Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott all regularly updating their pages.
But with City conscious of the responsibility of the club and its players to avoid unnecessary controversy -- particularly in the tinderbox atmosphere of Mancunian football rivalry -- Mancini's squad have been advised by senior figures to steer clear of engaging in a potentially distracting Twitter row with United.
The City squad were urged by the club early last week to avoid using social media to comment publicly in the aftermath of Kompany's red card and subsequent four-match ban.
Following the game, Rooney -- accused by Mancini of attempting to influence Foy's decision -- tweeted, "Funny how people think i got kompany sent off. Im not ref. i didnt give red card. But it was a clear red card. 2 footed tackle."
Ferdinand also added his voice to the Kompany debate, prior to City's appeal against the dismissal, by tweeting, "By the way how can there be any debate about the red card yesterday?? You leave the ground with a pounds 2footTackle = Red card pounds fact."
With City's players making clear to club officials their annoyance at Rooney and Ferdinand's contribution, Kompany was given permission to issue a statement on his Facebook site following the FA's decision to reject his appeal last Tuesday, with the Belgian noticeably focusing on his red card and subsequent appeal, rather than responding to comments from within the United camp.
City remain determined to maintain their stance on the Twitter comments of their players, despite Rooney's tweet about Mancini on Monday evening.
After the Italian gestured to the officials with an imaginary card following referee Martin Atkinson's decision only to book defender Maynor Figueroa for a deliberate hand-ball, Rooney tweeted, "Was manchini (sic) asking for red card????"
United's position on their players' use of Twitter is relaxed, with an acceptance that high-profile sportsmen embracing social media is unavoidable phenomenon.
After Rooney had been involved in a Twitter row with a supporter last season, which saw the England forward threaten to 'put u to sleep in 10 seconds,' Ferguson voiced his concerns and bemusement with the decision of some of his players to use the site.
Speaking last May, Ferguson said: "I don't understand it, to be honest with you. I don't know why anybody can be bothered with that kind of stuff."
City, meanwhile, are prepared to listen to offers for Nigel de Jong this summer, if they cannot reach a new contract deal with him. De Jong's failure to agree a deal worth more than £100,000 a week had left his future in some doubt, though he has since slipped down the pecking order to the extent that he could not even make the side at Wigan on Monday.
De Jong's hard negotiating position on his contract reflected his own belief that he was one of City's key players but City are certainly in no hurry to return to the table with the Dutchman's agent, Rodger Linse, and their manager, Mancini, has not been pushing hard to see a new deal secured. The 27-year-old will not be sold this month, though his career at the Etihad Stadium does now appear to depend on his season beginning to take off.
Otherwise, he could be another of the players signed under Mark Hughes' managership to find himself sold to finance a more creative midfielder who is more to Mancini's liking.
After only eight Premier League starts this season, De Jong may have gambled and lost by holding out for a more lucrative offer last summer.