JOSE MOURINHO has accused Pep Guardiola's Manchester City players of diving ahead of the derby at Old Trafford.
"If you ask me one thing that I don't like a lot [about City] it is that they lose their balance very easily. A little a bit of wind and they fall," said Mourinho.
Mourinho showed he is still the master of the pre-match mind games by diverting any questions over whether he is going to pack his defence against City with the allegation. It is a charge that is clearly aimed at piling the pressure on match official Michael Oliver who has refereed three Manchester derbies and sent off United defender Chris Smalling for two yellow-card offences in November 2014.
Last season Mourinho was unhappy with Oliver for sending off midfielder Ander Herrera during United's FA Cup quarter final defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Oliver was at the centre of another storm earlier this season when he awarded City a penalty in their 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.
Nacho Monreal barged into Raheem Sterling from behind and Sergio Aguero scored from the spot, but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger criticised the City forward.
"I believe it was no penalty," said Wenger. "We know that Raheem Sterling dives well, he does that very well."
City have had Fernandinho and Yaya Toure booked this season for simulation but an FA on-field governance panel cleared Bernardo Silva after Burnley claimed he dived to win a spot-kick earlier this season.
But Mourinho does have some praise for City, who have opened up an eight-point title lead over his side.
"They are a good team," he said. "They defend well, they react well to the moment they lose the ball. They have a good dynamic in attack, they have creative movement, they have amazing players, they have a fantastic coach – they have lots of good things."
If City win it could be curtains for a tight Premier League battle with an 11-point advantage before Christmas. But Mourinho is keen to cool any talk of this encounter being a 'must-win' match.
"I don't want us to feel any kind of pressure," he added. "I want us to feel it as a match like we are going to have another one two days later against Bournemouth.
"We want to win, we want to play well, we are going to try and let's see the direction of the game."