Ferguson launched a thinly-veiled attack on his local rivals this week when he lambasted the “amazing amounts” being invested by some clubs, just as City took their summer spending to almost £130m by signing James Milner.
The Abu Dhabi-backed Eastlands side have spent almost as much as the rest of the top flight put together during the close season, and £100m more than the next biggest spenders, Chelsea.
But on the eve of tonight’s Europa League play-off against FC Timisoara in Romania, Mancini defended the policy and reminded Ferguson that United’s success has itself drawn heavily on expensive purchases.
“All the other teams spend a lot of money,” said Mancini. “In the past – but not 15 years ago; two years ago, three years ago – it’s normal, if you want to buy a good player you have to spend money. This is the market.
“I respect his [Ferguson’s] opinion, but I repeat, Manchester United is like Manchester City, they spent a lot of money in the past.”
Mancini insists City have put their chequebook away for this year, after landing England midfielder Milner from Aston Villa in a deal worth £26m. The 24-year-old will not feature in this evening’s first leg but has been pencilled in for a debut against Liverpool on Monday, and the manager is expecting a strong return on his investment.
“I’m very happy to have James, everybody knows we have admired him for some time,” said the Italian. “He is an excellent midfielder who can play in a number of positions.”
Mancini admits Shay Given could leave after confirming Joe Hart will be City’s No1 goalkeeper in Europe.