The former Arsenal legend, now working for Manchester City, had attempted to turn up the pressure on the champions by suggesting the Blues have nothing to fear from a club that needed to add a member of the coaching team to the playing staff. In Vieira's view, it was an act of desperation because the Reds were losing Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba.
It looked to most observers as a clear example of trying to play mind games but the master of these situations was happy to laugh it off.
"If it’s desperation, bringing the best midfielder in Britain for the last 20 years back, then I think we can accept that," said Sir Alex at Friday's press conference. "I think he was programmed for that. Roberto [Mancini] had a wee dig a couple of weeks back. We’re all going to play our hand that way. There will be plenty of ammunition for that [any mind games].
"I think the point he makes about Ravel Morrison and losing our young players – we wanted to sell him, let’s be clear about that, for obvious reasons. But we want Pogba to stay.
"If you talk about desperation, they played a player [Carlos Tevez] the other night who refused to go on the pitch and the manager said he’d never play again and he takes a five-month holiday in Argentina…what is that? Could that come under the description of desperation? There will be plenty of ammunition don’t worry."