Manchester United first-team coach Rene Meulensteen has stoked the fire ahead of the Manchester derby at the end of April, by claiming manager Sir Alex Ferguson would never sign a player akin to Mario Balotelli.
The Italian striker has been blamed for City relinquishing their five-point lead over United, now the deficit between the two sides in the other direction with five games remaining.
His well documented fallings-out with teammates and manager Roberto Mancini has often detracted from his exploits on the pitch, and Meulensteen says Ferguson wouldn't tolerate such behaviour.
"We will never buy a guy like Mario Balotelli," said Meulensteen. "Players like that only deliver frustration."
Defeat to Wigan Athletic allowed City to cut United's lead at the top to five points, as Mancini's men cruised to victory over West Bromwich Albion.
City travel to Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in consecutive weekends, prior to United's home games against Aston Villa and Everton, before the pair collide on April 30th.
Mancini's men will be looking to inflict upon United what they did in the month of March, by overturning a five-point deficit, a lead Meulensteen always felt their rivals would spurn.
"At Manchester United everybody is used to the pressure for playing about the title," he said. "For the first in long time City is now in a position that they can become champions.
"That's what's breaking them now. I've always thought that City wouldn't hold the race until the end.
"Their squad is out of balance, they've got to many individuals who are playing for themselves. Against Sunderland you could see that they don't have team spirit.
"The fight on the pitch like they had you would not see at Manchester United."
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