Louis van Gaal has claimed his Manchester United team is ready to tilt the balance of power back towards Old Trafford when they meet neighbours City in Sunday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.
United know that victory against City on Sunday will move them to within a point of their stuttering neighbours and manager Van Gaal claims his team is good enough.
Asked to compare the two squads on Friday, the United manager said: ‘I am not jealous of the squad of Manchester City.
‘I am proud of my players and that is the most important thing and when we play like a team then we have a big chance to win. Our goal is to win this game. It is possible, we are growing, we are developing ourselves, I think.
‘What we have seen of Manchester City in the last matches was not so good. But that was also the case last year, Ryan Giggs has warned me. So you never know.’
With Wayne Rooney back for United on Sunday and City missing playmaker David Silva for a month after damaging knee ligaments in midweek, the visitors would appear to have a chance against a team who have not won for three games.
City defender Pablo Zabaleta said: ‘We need to do much better than we have done in the last three games. It is just about three points and winning that game. It means we can get the confidence back and it’s something we need at the moment. We cannot drop points because of the race with Chelsea. It’s a really important day for both teams.’
City manager Manuel Pellegrini revealed that his club were never able to consider buying Angel di Maria from Real Madrid in the summer because of the spending restrictions placed on them by UEFA for breaking Financial Fair Play guidelines. Di Maria was offered to City the week before United paid £60million for him but Pellegrini said: ‘We have an important restriction about budget this year. We cannot spend the money that United paid for Di Maria.’
Van Gaal urged his players to take the emotion out of the game and avoid red cards.