Manchester City vs. Manchester United  2 - 3

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Ferguson condemns attack on Ferdinand

9 December 2012 19:54

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has hit out at fans at the Etihad Stadium after an object struck Rio Ferdinand in the face.

The defender appeared to be hit by a coin after celebrating United's third goal in their dramatic 3-2 derby win over Manchester City on Sunday.

After Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta cancelled out Wayne Rooney's first-half double, Robin van Persie struck a winning free-kick in injury-time provoking an angry response from the home fans, resulting in an object hitting Ferdinand above the eye and drawing blood.

A City fan also managed to force his way through the stewards to get on the pitch and remonstrate with referee Martin Atkinson before being restrained by City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

"It is just unfortunate at the end that a City fan ran on the pitch and that they threw coins at our players. You really don't need things like that," Ferguson said.

"The same thing happened at Chelsea, which was a bit masked by everything else that happened that day. It was a fantastic game of football between two fantastic teams and we could have done without that."

Replays show the defender being struck by a coin-like object while celebrating, before clutching the shirt to his wound and being escorted off the pitch by a match official.

Ferdinand has since taken to Twitter to comment on the game and incident, writing: "what a result,3points! Sweet! Whoever threw that coin,what a shot! Can't believe it was a copper 2p....could have at least been a £1 coin."

He also added: "Respect to Joe Hart for protecting that idiot who ran on!! Love the banter between fans but there is a point when it goes too far...calm it!"

A Manchester City spokesperson has since apologised to the United defender: "We apologise to Rio. We condemn the actions of the individual concerned.

"We are reviewing the CCTV with the police and our normal security. We will support the police with any investigation and hopefully identify the person as soon as possible."

Greater Manchester Police said no arrests have been made in relation to the attack on Ferdinand but the Football Association will investigate the incident.

In an unrelated incident, a man was arrested on suspicion of committing a racially aggravated public order offence during the game after racist chanting was heard by officers.

Article

Mancini: We didn´t deserve to lose

9 December 2012 19:38

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini said his side did not deserve to lose 3-2 to Manchester United after Robin van Persie's late winner.

Although City started brightly at the Etihad Stadium, Wayne Rooney netted twice in the first half to give the visitors a two-goal advantage, before strikes from Yaya Toure and Pablo Zabaleta set up a grandstand finale between the rivals.

However, the Netherlands striker won the game with a 91st-minute free-kick courtesy of a deflection off Samir Nasri - and Mancini admitted his side 'are not in a good moment' as they fell six points behind United on the Premier League table.

"This is football, we were unlucky in the last second. We played better, we didn't deserve to lose," he told Sky Sports News.

"For 20 minutes they didn't touch the ball, they shot three times and they scored three goals. I think that a game shouldn't finish like this.

"When it was 2-0 we had chance after chance but we were unlucky. We played, they won, but also we showed we are better as a team.

"We are disappointed but it is because we lost a game we didn't deserve to lose. I can say that I am happy for our performance."

Mancini also bemoaned that his side slipped to a late loss, and believes his defence should have been more wary of a player as lethal in front of goal as Van Persie.

"I think in the last second we should pay more attention in this situation, because you're playing against a top player, and Van Persie shoots very, very well," he said.

While City slipped six points behind league leaders United in the Premier League, the 48-year-old manager feels his side have enough time to retain their title.

"We have time to recover, if we have the same attitude but without mistakes I think we have time to recover these six points," he said.

"We are not in a good moment but I think we should restart from this performance and we should understand we are a good team.

"It was a good game until the last two seconds for our supporters."

Article

Rooney rejoices after derby victory

9 December 2012 18:39

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was over the moon after helping his side claim a dramatic 3-2 win over Manchester City on Sunday.

Having lost at home and away in the Premier League to their rivals last season, the England international's two goals put the Red Devils in front before Robin van Persie put down a City comeback with his stoppage-time free kick.

"It's fantastic. It's great for us to go six points clear against our closest rivals, especially after what happened last year. We've waited a long time for this to happen," Rooney told Sky Sports after the game.

The forward's double took him to 151 Premier League goals and a record-breaking 10 in Manchester derbies.

"Of course, it's great to score here but it doesn't matter whether it's against City or not," he said.

"I'm scoring for Manchester United and enjoying it.

"Obviously it's a great day for us to win here. They've had a great home record and to spoil that is a great feeling.

Rooney added: "(The game was) crazy. It's been like that all season for us.

"To lose a two-goal lead ... to be fair, we were hanging on a bit at the end. They had a couple of chances and a bit of magic got us the three points."

Van Persie's late strike capped a fine performance in his first Manchester derby but the Dutchman was just happy to get the three points.

"Anything will do - just to win. We had a good start because of Wayne, two really good, clinical finishes, good attacks and then we went into control, which was good," he said.

"City always come back and we knew that so it's a really special way to end this game, to get the three points in a dramatic way.

"Wazza asked me (before the free kick), he said: 'What are you gonna do? Are you gonna shoot or are you gonna cross it?' I said: 'I think I'll have a shot'."

There was controversy at the end of the game as Rio Ferdinand was hit by a coin thrown from the home crowd.

"In general it was a great atmosphere, everyone was supporting their team," Van Persie said.

"I missed the thing with Rio so I'll have to look back at it but that shouldn't really happen on a football pitch."

Article

Premier League: Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3

9 December 2012 16:41

Robin van Persie's injury-time free-kick inspired Manchester United to a 3-2 win over Manchester City in a barnstorming derby.

Wayne Rooney had put United two goals up after 28 minutes as the visitors counter-attacked in clinical fashion.

But Yaya Toure pulled one back for City to set up a thrilling last half-hour, and Pablo Zabaleta sent the home support wild in the 86th minute when he made their relentless pressure count by shooting through a crowded goalmouth.

However, it was Van Persie, the player who City tried to sign in the summer, who had the final say in a magnificent game with a deflected 25-yard free-kick that nestled in the bottom corner.

United's landmark victory in the biggest Premier League match of the season so far condemned City to their first defeat at Etihad Stadium for nearly two years.

In a match that typified the passion, entertainment and commitment of the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson's team will feel that justice was done, given that Toure's strike came 60 seconds after Ashley Young had a goal disallowed for off-side even though he appeared to be level.

United have now claimed four big scalps in the opening 16 matches of the season, having already won at Liverpool and Chelsea and beaten Arsenal at home.

With Hollywood royalty Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall watching on, Mancini sprung a surprise by opting to pair Sergio Aguero with Mario Balotelli rather than Carlos Tevez.

For United, David De Gea got the nod to start in goal, Tom Cleverley was chosen to partner Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia returned after three weeks on the sidelines.

City completely dominated the early exchanges but after Balotelli and Aguero had wasted good opportunities, Rooney's classic sucker-punch goal put the visitors 1-0 up.

A brilliant Van Persie chest-down on the halfway line allowed Young to gallop down the left flank, from where he found Rooney in space on the edge of the box. The forward's shot was mis-hit but it caught out an unmoved Joe Hart in goal, dribbling into the corner of the net.

The home fans were momentarily stunned, and there was a further blow when skipper and defensive leader Vincent Kompany hobbled off after 20 minutes with what appeared to be a groin injury.

Curiously, Kompany was replaced not by Joleon Lescott but Kolo Toure, who was not deemed good enough to be selected for City's Champions League squad.

Toure looked a nervous wreck every time the play was in his general direction and United soon took full advantage of City's reshuffle.

After 28 minutes, Cleverley won an important tackle in midfield, David Silva failed to track Rooney's central run and the striker greedily gobbled up Rafael's cross from the right flank to unerringly side-foot his 150th league goal.

By the time the opening period ended, the home support had been quietened, City were running out of ideas and United looked in control.

Mancini waited until six minutes into the second half to replace the disappointing Balotelli with Tevez, by which time the visitors had also been forced into a change with Chris Smalling taking the place of the injured Jonny Evans.

City got a foothold in the match at the hour mark, 60 seconds after Young had a goal ruled out for off-side even though replays suggested he was level when he pounced on the rebound from a Van Persie shot that cannoned off the post.

A single City attack produced three saves from De Gea before Tevez teed up Yaya Toure to light the sky blue flare and put the home side back in the match.

With the two sides trading some breathtaking attacks, Silva was inches from equalising after 78 minutes when his shot skimmed De Gea's shoulder before whacking the crossbar.

By now, City were pouring forward relentlessly. In a late piece of drama that is increasingly typical of Mancini's team, Zabaleta appeared to have secured the draw with his first goal of the season.

But Van Persie had the final say on a remarkable afternoon.

Article

Neville says title is Manchester bound

9 December 2012 14:50

Gary Neville believes the Premier League title will go to either Manchester United or Manchester City.

Roberto Mancini's side beat Sir Alex Ferguson's men twice last season and won the title on goal difference - a factor the Old Trafford boss attributed in part to being beaten by City 6-1 at home, meaning a 10-goal swing.

However, while the champions could regain top spot with a win against the Red Devils on Sunday, Neville suggested the twists and turns of last season have shown the race may go down to the wire again.

"The title race is between these two. I don't see any other team with the mental strength, durability and character that these clubs possess," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

"Make no mistake, these are the best teams in England right now. They haven't been at their best yet and if there's one thing I would want to see on Sunday it's a step up in quality.

"My gut feeling assessing the Manchester derby on Sunday is to say that this is just another three points in a long season.

"In my years of fighting for titles and having watched several races unfold, Sunday's result will not have a pivotal influence on the eventual outcome.

"It is far too early to judge and there are too many twists and turns to come."

Article

Rooney aims to add to City´s woes

9 December 2012 03:26

Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United can heap further misery on arch-rivals City with a derby victory on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini's side were dumped out of Europe after a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, while speculation has grown over the Italian's future at the Etihad Stadium.

City currently trail United by three points and a win for Sir Alex Ferguson's men will put even further daylight between the two clubs at the top of the Premier League.

"City are out of the Champions League and are having a bit of a tough time - I think everyone can see that behind the scenes. If we win, we can put more pressure on them. If we get three points there, it will be massive for us." Rooney told reporters.

"Obviously, it is a massive game, probably up there with Liverpool. The two of them.

"There is a big rivalry, the two of us are fighting for that number-one spot. We're trying to go there and get three points. We are all excited for the game."

Rooney believes United's strengths are in the flanks and the striker believes delivery from wide areas could be crucial to his side's success.

"I think our strength is getting wingers on the pitch, getting the ball out wide, attacking and getting crosses into the box," he said.

"That's obviously the way Manchester United have played for years, so I think that's one of our strengths.

"Of course, they have a strong central midfield, but they also leave gaps out wide, so I'm sure Sir Alex (Ferguson) and Roberto Mancini will be looking at different things and ways they can capitalise on each team's weakness."

Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia could be a surprise inclusion in United's squad.

The 27-year-old, who has not featured for United since their 1-0 defeat to Norwich City on November 17 due to a hip injury, trained on Saturday.

Tom Cleverley also trained despite after a calf injury which restricted the midfielder to playing the opening half of United's Champions League defeat to Cluj on Wednesday.

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Ferguson downplays injury concerns

8 December 2012 16:56

Sir Alex Ferguson says he is not worried by Manchester United's injury problems ahead of their clash with champions Manchester City.

Captain Nemanja Vidic and off-season signing Shinji Kagawa remain sidelined while Nani, Anderson and Antonio Valencia are all expected to miss the game on Sunday.

Midfielder Tom Cleverley is also a doubt with a calf problem after hobbling out of the midweek Champions League defeat to CFR Cluj at Old Trafford.

However, Ferguson insisted he still has plenty options ahead of the short trip to Etihad Stadium and says his squad is big enough to deal with the current injury list.

"I know we have some injury problems but we are not short of a squad," the Scot told MUTV.

"I have plenty of experience to bring in. I rested Darren Fletcher against Cluj on Wednesday and just brought him on for the last 10 minutes.

"Michael Carrick will be back in. I also have Ashley Young, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez.

"That is what big squads allow you to do. You don't have every player every week. Our supporters must recognise that.

"Over the years we have had injury situations. Every club gets them. Normally you work on 10 percent of your squad being out every week with some sort of injury.

"That is the situation we are in at the moment but it is not desperate by any means."

Article

Mancini hits out at misfiring strikers

8 December 2012 15:27

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has hit out at his strikers, claiming they must be more efficient in front of goal.

The English champions possess a vast array of attacking riches in Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko but the expensively assembled quartet have scored only 19 goals between them so far.

In contrast Manchester United's Robin van Persie, who City tried to sign during the summer, has 10 goals already this season and Mancini wants more from his strikers - starting with their crunch clash with United on Sunday.

"It's always the case that you can have one striker in a difficult spell during the season," he told reporters.

"Usually, when you have four strikers, two or three of them are not scoring but one is.

"But at the moment we have four strikers who can't score.

"This can change maybe on Sunday and after that it will be OK. But we need to work more.

"Our season depends on our strikers. If we start to score like last year we will have a big chance."

Article

Van Persie has no regrets over choosing United

8 December 2012 14:38

Robin van Persie believes he made the right move in choosing Manchester United over Manchester City last summer.

The 29-year-old has found the back of the net 13 times since his switch from Arsenal and says he has no regrets after turning down an approach from Manchester City.

The Dutchman will lead United's attack at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday but doesn't expect a hostile reception from the City supporters after rejecting a move to the Premier League champions.

"Not really," he replied when asked if he expected an unfriendly welcome.

"I made my mind up very quickly and I am coming into work with a big smile on my face every day. It is not really work, it is my hobby. I love football but everyone has been so nice to me and I have been having the time of my life here.

"So I don't regret that, but of course in a derby you have lots of people involved - fans and players - everyone is really committed and wants their team to win and we will do all we can to win this game."

Van Persie has experienced big derby match-ups in north London and during his time with Feyenoord, but Sunday will be the Dutchman's first experience of the Manchester derby.

"Yeah, it's a big one straight away and I am looking forward to it because it's number one versus number two at the moment and hopefully we can stretch it (United's advantage at the top).

"The Premier League over the last couple of years has been exciting, lots of big scorers, peculiar scores, so we will see what happens this time."

Article

Toure happy to be in the derby spotlight

8 December 2012 14:24

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has called on his side to keep their unbeaten run at the Etihad alive on Sunday.

Current Premier League leaders Manchester United travel to last season's champions, looking for revenge following that dramatic season finale in May.

City are currently three points behind their rivals, and a win at the Etihad would put Roberto Mancini's side on top of the table.

But Toure understands the difficulty they will confront when they go against United, facing a strikeforce of Wayne Rooney and a player they reportedly tried to sign themselves in the summer, Robin van Persie.

"We respect United but we are at home and confident against anyone on our own pitch," Toure told reporters.

"These are the games, personally, I love because it is a challenge against a strong team.

"Matches like this are why I love being a footballer. I enjoy the pressure and expectation and everything that goes with it.

"The eyes of the football world will be centred on Manchester and this is a game everyone will want to see - and that suits me fine."

Both teams have an overwhelming home record, with Tottenham being the only team outside of Manchester to win in the city this year.

But Manchester City have not lost at home for almost two years, with their last defeat being against Everton in a 2-1 loss, on December 20, 2010.

Toure is hoping that City can keep their momentum going by defeating Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

"It's going to be a fantastic game and we know it will be tough, but they have conceded a lot of goals and we have a mentality that we will not be beaten on our own pitch," said Toure.

"We will be in front of our own fans on our own ground and we are ready for this game."

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Kompany eyes off van Persie battle

8 December 2012 06:35

Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is looking forward to going head-to-head with Manchester United striker Robin van Persie on Sunday.

The Dutchman has been in prolific form since leaving Arsenal for Old Trafford, scoring 13 goals in 19 matches, and has promised there is more to come from him ahead of the Manchester derby.

But Kompany, who publicly backed City's interest in the striker before he moved to their rivals in the summer, is relishing the opportunity to face United's top scorer at the Etihad Stadium.

"He's a great striker and I think, personally, I like nothing more than the challenge of playing against the best in the game and van Persie definitely fits the bill," he told talkSPORT.

Meanwhile, the Belgium international is convinced City can bounce back after a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in midweek saw the club finish bottom of their Champions League group.

"The best way for us to react is to perform on the pitch, and we've done it time and time again in the past so I'm sure we'll do it again," Kompany added.

"It's the kind of game where you expect yourself to perform well. You expect yourself to have a good game because you know that the challenge is huge.

"The passion that goes into that game is quite special so it's probably a good game to pick yourself up but there is always a risk attached to a game like this.

"It's probably very difficult to call a favourite in these kind of games whether you play at home or away."

Roberto Mancini's side, who remain unbeaten in the Premier League, sit three points behind table-topping United ahead of the clash.

Article

Premier League preview: Manchester City v Manchester United

8 December 2012 04:09

Manchester United and Manchester City will both enter their highly anticipated derby on Sunday on the back of underwhelming results.

United fell to a 1-0 home loss to Romanian outfit CFR Cluj in mid-week, while City finished bottom of their group in Europe courtesy of a 1-0 reverse away to Borussia Dortmund.

Roberto Mancini's men will no doubt be ropable their star-studded squad could not even get them into the Europa League, while United - despite their loss not costing them a last-16 spot - will be looking to bounce back from being beaten in their own backyard by a relative minnow.

And despite sitting in the top two spots on the league table, both sides have had some unusual results of late.

United's form line reads: loss to Norwich, loss to Galatasaray (Champions League), come-from-behind win over QPR, narrow win over West Ham, and another come-from-behind win over Reading.

That both QPR and Reading led against United is a sign their defence is more than capable of being beaten - something that City has shored up at the expense of goals.

In a squad stacked with star goalscorers, City failed to threaten against Chelsea in a stalemate, took 69 minutes to break down Wigan's defence, only scored from the spot against Everton, and failed to trouble the scorers against Dortmund.

So it leaves the two clubs with everything to play for, let alone English Premier League points, but there is clearly some momentum up for grabs for the side that performs the better at the Etihad Stadium.

City should get back Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring) for the all-important derby, while United have revealed defender Nemanja Vidic (knee) will not make his long-awaited comeback at the weekend.

Winger Antonio Valencia (thigh) could return, though, while Nani (hamstring), Anderson (hamstring) and Shinji Kagawa (knee) are already ruled out.

City will be missing Micah Richards (knee), Alexander Kolarov (groin), James Milner (hamstring), while midfielder David Silva remains in doubt due to a hamstring complaint.

City took all six league points on offer against United last season on their way to clinching the title, but United were triumphant 3-2 at Eastlands in the FA Cup third round in January.

Mancini's side won their recent league clash there 1-0, with Vincent Kompany's towering header the difference in what turned out to be a defining victory.

Article

Giggs determined to regain title

7 December 2012 17:23

Manchester United stalwart Ryan Giggs says he is hungrier than ever to win back the English Premier League title from Manchester City.

Giggs, the only man to have played in every Premier League season, said losing the crown to City on the final day of last season was 'one of the worst feelings I've ever felt'.

League leaders United will meet second-placed City on Sunday and Giggs is determined to make amends for the disappointment of last term.

"I've missed out on the Premier League maybe four or five times on the last day," the 39-year-old said.

"It's always hard because it's a tough season and you want to win the league at the end of it. That's the ultimate goal for all the United players and Man United as a team.

"So when you just lose out it's always difficult and when you lose out to your biggest rivals and neighbours and the team that is in your city, then it's probably a little extra hard to take.

"But whoever wins the league deserves it, so Man City deserved it.

"It's up to us to come back next season and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Giggs, who trained with City when he was 11 years old, said he thinks United are good enough to clinch a record 20th league title.

"I think it's always important for us to win things for Man United as a player and as a team," he said.

"You do it for United. That's the only thing we really concentrate on.

"We always feel that if we play well during the season and with the ability that we've got then more often than not, and barring any injuries, we should win the league.

"Last year we had terrible injury problems. We lost our captain for the majority of the season so to lose the league just on goal difference was a great achievement even though we lost."

Article

Ferguson highlights City threat

7 December 2012 16:59

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes Manchester City have replaced Liverpool as the club's biggest rivals.

United and Liverpool are the two most successful teams in England with 119 honours between them.

But Ferguson now considers City as a greater enemy after they clinched the English Premier League title last season.

"There is no question that over the last quarter of a century Liverpool-United games were unbelievable and always the most important games," he said.

"But it has shifted in the sense that at this moment Liverpool are not challenging for the league the way that City are.

"They are our biggest threat and we are their biggest threat now so that has changed.

"That is the great thing about football, things can change."

City, second on the table, host leaders United at the Etihad Stadium in what shapes as the biggest game of the season yet on Sunday.

"There is such a long time to go until the end of the season," Ferguson said

"We have won leagues when 12 points behind and lost a league from 11 points ahead of Arsenal until we got a deluge of injuries, so you can never be sure and you can lose to anyone.

"We have lost to Norwich already this season but that is the kind of league we are in and it is a tough league.

"It is going to be close between the two sides, there is already a big gap over Chelsea and Arsenal and Tottenham.

"There is a gap and I think it will be difficult to imagine both of us would collapse and allow another team in so I think it will be between two of us."

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Mancini takes positives from Euro exit

7 December 2012 15:27

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says his side's Champions League exit could help in the defence of their Premier League title.

City, who were bundled out of the Champions League on the bottom of Group D, are looking to bounce back from a run of just one win in five games in all competitions.

"We are not happy to exit because we wanted to do well, but probably it was not our year in Europe because against Borussia Dortmund we did not play well and we did not do enough to win the game," Mancini said.

"(But) in February or March it could be (an advantage) because the difference is that if you play in the Champions League you play on Tuesday or Wednesday and then have three or four days to recover.

"If you play in the Europa League then you don't have time to recover because you play Thursday night and then travel before playing Sunday afternoon."

City host fierce rivals Manchester United on Sunday in a crucial derby that could decide the fate of the title.

"I think it is clearly important that they have three points more than us and they have a small advantage," Mancini said.

"But it is a derby and it is a very difficult match for both teams.

"They are favourites for the title because they were a strong team and they have bought (Robin) Van Persie and they put into their squad another player who can score 25 goals."

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Rafael: Defence key for Manchester derby

7 December 2012 11:03

Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva has warned they must improve defensively for their clash with rivals Manchester City.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side have fallen behind in 15 of their 23 games this season and shipped three against strugglers Reading last time out in the Premier League.

Although United went on to win the game 4-3, Rafael was hauled off in the first half and believes the whole team have to improve defensively.

When asked if he believed Manchester City could destroy their opponents on Sunday, he told The Guardian: "Of course, yes.

"If we defend like we have done in some games we will be in real trouble against a team like City.

"That's 100 per cent sure. I don't know why we have had problems defending this season. If we work hard in training I'm sure we can learn to defend better.

"In the Premier League Manchester City are doing very well – they just seem to keep going and going. But we just need to concentrate on ourselves.

"It is a big game for us and we need to play at our best level. They have a very good attack with some quality strikers. This will be our biggest test of the season.

"They have two Argentina strikers (Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero) and I am from Brazil so that increases the rivalry for me."

After losing the Premier League title to their rivals on goal difference after Aguero's dramatic winner against QPR on the last day of last season, Rafael believes the experience has installed a new determination within the squad.

"We are really determined to make up for losing the title to them last season. The way we lost it (on goal difference, on the final day) made it even harder to accept," he continued.

"This season we are determined to win the title back. I will never forget how I felt that night after we had lost it and that will give us more motivation, definitely.

"We just looked at each other and said: 'How did we lose it by a few goals?' It was hard to take. It took ages to get over it – and it (the pain) is still there."

However, a win on Sunday would move United six points clear of the champions and the full-back says that is huge motivation for his side as they prepare for the short tip to Etihad Stadium.

"The derby is a big game and it is getting more and more important each season," he added.

"It would be very important to build a six-point lead over them before Christmas. That would make them nervous and make it easier for us."

Article

Ferguson braced for City clash

6 December 2012 15:23

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes a victory over Manchester City on Sunday would go down as one of his best-ever results.

United go into the game at Etihad Stadium with a three-point lead over their local rivals, and could move six points clear with a win.

However, having shipped 21 goals already this term, including three in their last league outing away at Reading, Ferguson knows if his side want to take anything away from the game, they will need to tighten up defensively.

"If we win it will be one of our best-ever results," Ferguson told MUTV.

"They are a really good, powerful team with massive players. It won't be easy and if we defend like we did at Reading we'll be in trouble.

"The important thing for us is to take lessons from the mistakes we're making and do something about it. We need to find a solution."

Ferguson also refused to rule Chelsea out of the title race, despite Rafael Benitez's men being 10 points behind United and without a win in the Premier League since October

"At this time in the season you can't really say it's a two-horse race," he said.

"If you think back we were 12 points behind Chelsea at one point and when Arsenal beat us in the league in 1998 we were 11 points clear."

Ferguson hopes forward Wayne Rooney will be firing on all cylinders going into the derby clash, after he was the only player to feature in both of the club's last two games, at Reading in the league and against Cluj in the Champions League.

"Wayne has another 90 minutes under his belt and hopefully by Sunday he is in real top form," he said.

"He is approaching that now but Sunday will be a different kettle of fish altogether."

Article

Mancini concentrates on Dortmund

3 December 2012 22:59

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is not being distracted by Sunday's derby against rivals United.

City play their must-win Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday but Mancini is not looking any further than the European tie.

The 48-year-old coach admits his side will have to beat one of the 'best teams in Europe' to hold any hope of continuing their participation in European football in the New Year.

A spot in the Europa League is the only obtainable prize after City failed to win any of their previous five games in this season's Champions League Group D.

Mancini quashed reports he could play a weakened side, with a full set of strikers travelling to Germany, however he will be without injured pair Yaya Toure and David Silva.

"Mario Balotelli is here and he can play. So can Edin (Dzeko), and we have other strikers in (Carlos) Tevez and (Sergio) Aguero. Yaya (Toure) will not play," Mancini told reporters.

"We are not thinking of the derby this weekend. We have a difficult match coming up here and we brought all our players except the injured ones.

"Borussia Dortmund are currently one of the best teams in Europe and we have a difficult match ahead of us."

Mancini believes the club should not be embarrassed by their second consecutive early exit in the competition, adding that Dortmund and fellow group D opponents Real Madrid are more deserving of progression, and City must now look to future challenges.

He continued: "In the Europa League you play on Thursdays, so that's a bit tricky, but we still want to make it and will try everything to go through and then go as far as possible there.

"We are disappointed because we wanted to reach the second round. But I believe that there are times when there are teams in football that are better than you and you have to respect that.

"We have to accept that Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid played better than we did and we'll have to try again next season. But it was not an embarrassment."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25