Still unbeaten in the Premier League and three points ahead of their city rivals, Manchester United take a trip to Eastlands to play Manchester City in what will be a crunch match for both teams, and arguably the biggest derby in recent memory given City’s upturn in fortunes.
Much has been said over the last few days from both camps in the lead up to tonight’s game, but talking is one thing, doing the business on the pitch in something entirely different.
Sir Alex Ferguson, not one to shy away from a conflict has stuck the knife in on a couple of occasions making sure City know the difference between winning a trophy and having aspirations, “I think if you were to ask City’s supporters they’d prefer to see a trophy paraded through the city before they start getting carried away,” he said.
“There was one City fan who got a tattoo on his body saying ‘European Cup Winners!’ I mean, people get carried away. Unfortunately supporters are just as bad as directors.
“I just think a lot of their supporters would probably prefer to see a trophy before they start screaming from the rooftops.”
With regards the famous Carlos Tevez Poster, “I don’t know what created that poster,” said Ferguson.
“It was probably some advertising gimmick somewhere along the line, but I don’t think they can be proud of it. I don’t see how they thought that would get more points off us as opposed to playing against us on a football pitch.
“I said it at the time that I thought it was stupid and they probably think that now. I think it was probably worthwhile for maybe some of their supporters, but not all of them. Others will have been embarrassed by it.”
He may have some selection headaches ahead of the game as a virus had swept through the squad though most affected will have recovered in time for the match.
Ryan Giggs may also be inline to return to the starting line up to fulfill what has become a ritual for the Welshman. He has appeared in all 29 league Manchester derbies since his first league start against City back in May 1991.
Nani is definitely out as is Owen Hargreaves, Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen and Anderson. Javier Hernandez is likely to start from the bench, as Dimitar Berbatov is preferred as a lone front man.
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has demanded respect from his counterparts across the city, stating, “Not just United, but all the clubs must respect the players and the history of City,” Mancini said.
“In the last years, City haven’t won anything, but they have a good history.
“We have respect for United and we want them to have it for us always. The number of trophies a team has or hasn’t won isn’t important. Respect is more important.
“I think they know that now we are a strong team. I think that the situation has changed. We are very respectful of United; we are respectful of ‘Fergie’ because he is the top manager in the world.
“But we understand that we can always beat them now. That’s why think it the derby will be a good game between two great sides.” He concluded.
The hosts will be without Mario Balotelli who is suspended, Emmanuel Adebayor is also doubtful with a calf injury. Mancini has an almost fully fit squad to choose from though as attacking options are lacking so Carlos Tevez may start on his own up front.
United go into the game in good form against their rivals, winning the last four league derbies as well as knocking them out of last seasons Carling Cup.
In addition United are the only unbeaten team in the country and are unbeaten in their opening 11 league matches for the first time in Premier League history.
Also see: Manchester United v Manchester City preview.
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