Paul Parker

Fergie’s mind games are meaningless

Paul Parker

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Sir Alex Ferguson has gone big on the 'mind games' ahead of the Premier League finale tomorrow, but I do not think his comments will have any effect on Manchester City or QPR.

He has effectively tried to deliver Mark Hughes's team talk for him, which I'm sure Sparky appreciated! He called on QPR to emulate Fergie's Aberdeen side when they beat Real Madrid in 1983, and said that City might not recover from the mental scars if they mess it up.

But honestly, I don't think either side will have been listening, and neither needs reminding of the importance of tomorrow's game.

City have already shown their ability to perform under pressure with their wins over United and Newcastle, while QPR are still fighting for survival and need no extra motivation.

However, QPR have been appalling away from home all season, and I cannot see them getting a result - as a former player I hope they prove me wrong, but I think they will be relying on Stoke to take at least a point against Bolton.

Yes, City might get the jitters if it is still goalless after 60 minutes or so, but I simply cannot see QPR going through 90 minutes without at least one of the lapses in concentration that have cost them all season.

Mark Hughes has a grudge against City because of the way he was sacked, and he is one of the most determined people I have ever met - if he were out there, I would fancy QPR to get a result, but he must rely on a squad that have fallen short on their travels all season.

It is a slightly different atmosphere on the last day of the season. All the teams are playing at the same time, which is a rarity, and everyone has an ear on events at other grounds.

These days, when everyone in the ground has a radio or an iPhone, it is impossible for players not to find out what is happening elsewhere - they just have to concentrate on the job in hand, and I think City can do that.

In 1995 United needed Blackburn to slip up against Liverpool and they did - but United could not beat West Ham to take advantage.

United have a difficult game away to Sunderland this time, and Martin O'Neill's side will be fired up.

Manchester United at home is one of the highlights of any club's season, and Sunderland will be desperate to end the season on a high - and if they stop United winning the title that will be a bonus.

It might seem that Fergie has taken his eye off the ball by concentrating on other teams, but I am certain that away from the press contferences, he will have his side prepared as well as possible.

If City wrap up the title as we expect, they will be worthy champions.

Even though it might only be on goal difference, I don't think there is any doubt that, on balance, they have been the better team this season.

As well as beating United home and away, they have exuded such strength through the spine of the team - Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero have been brilliant.

They looked dead and buried four weeks ago, but have shown commendable resilience to stick at their task and produce some of their best performances at the right time.

If United fans are honest, they will accept that this is not the best squad they have had by a long way, and in many ways it would have been remarkable to beat City to the title. But their weaknesses were cruelly exposed in those three games against Wigan, Everton and City as they threw away an eight-point lead.

They have one final roll of the dice, but I think it will be in vain.

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