Micah Richards believes the raft of absentees from Sunday’s derby encounter at Old Trafford will not dent the Blues mental strength.
And he is convinced that whatever eleven takes to the pitch it will be a better prepared and more in tune City side that takes on the neighbours than the one that did the double over the Reds two seasons ago.
“We have changed mentally,” he insisted. “We are stronger now in that department. I think people can see evidence of that from the games we have won already this season and how we dug deep against Arsenal last weekend when they equalised and were on top for a spell.
“The ‘big four’ have been established for some time and winning and recording clean sheets come naturally to them. That will hopefully be the case with us. We have been, historically, a team that is capable of big wins over the top sides but then doesn’t necessarily back it up.
“We lacked concentration at the back on occasions against Arsenal and we cannot afford to do that again because that is what separates the great teams from the very good ones.”
Richards cannot wait for the action to begin.
It is always hard when you go to Old Trafford but we did the double over them a couple of seasons ago and we have better players now.
“We love the challenge of games like Sundays the main thing we have to do is go there and express ourselves. We have no fear against any side. We are in good shape mentality and we know that expectations levels will be huge.
“It is positive for us that Ronaldo or Carlos (Tevez) will not be in their side but we are not thinking about them only ourselves. In any case United have always lost big stars in the past and still been incredibly strong and moved on. Last year we were disappointed with ourselves but we are better now and we will be positive and confident.”