Sven-Goran Eriksson knows just what to expect from his first Manchester derby.
The City boss is drawing on his big-match experience from throughout his managerial career as he finalises preparations for this afternoon’s match at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Sven says: “Everybody knows what the derby is, it will be a hard game for us but I hope for United as well. The players are looking forward to it, as I do, because it’s a big, big game. It will be a sell-out as well, so everything’s looking good.
“I have a lot of (derby experiences) from Gothenburg, Lisbon and Rome, and that one especially is not a joke!
“On paper this is the biggest challenge you can have in the Premier League because United are the champions, so of course this will be one of the most difficult games.”
United will be without Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo through injury and suspension respectively, but Sven is not complacent about the challenge that the Premier League champions will pose.
“With Rooney it’s a pity for United, and for England, he’s unlucky. But Tevez is not a bad replacement for him though, and with the squad they have United will find a replacement for Ronaldo quite easily.”
Many of City’s new-look team will be playing in their first Manchester derby but the boss has no concerns about their ability to handle the pressure.
He continues, “I think the young ones can cope with it. They did very well against West Ham and Derby, and even if you are young I think you can cope with pressure. Most of the players are internationals on some level with some countries, even if it is only Under 21, but I’m sure they can cope with it.
“It’s good to have expectations on us, that people are looking forward to the match. I hope we can live up to it, it’s a derby, we are facing the champions and we are going to try the best we can to get a positive result.”