City’s ability to raise their game for the big matches makes Roberto Mancini’s men dangerous opponents in Saturday’s derby.
That’s the view of former skipper Kolo Toure and defender Pablo Zabaleta neither of whom are willing to read too much into the Reds first defeat of the season at the weekend.
“We closed on United at the weekend and made ground on Arsenal and Chelsea too and now we must make sure that the gap does not widen on Saturday. It is a game we must aim not to lose,’ said Toure who experienced the end of long unbeaten run with Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’.
“When you are on a good run like United were on and you lose, everything becomes harder. It shakes your confidence. Maybe that can happen to them but derbies are different games.
“I have spent most of my career in England battling United, first at Arsenal, now at City. We have the players that are capable of fighting against them and that has been shown with our results against them recently.”
The Blues have already beaten Chelsea and Liverpool this season without conceding a goal and came back from trips to Tottenham and Arsenal with goalless draws. The first derby also ended up 0-0.
Head-to-heads against the top teams clearly do not faze Mancini’s charges.
“I believe 100 per cent that we can win the game, because we show our character when we are in games that we really need to win,” said Zabaleta echoing Toure’s words.
“We know it will be very difficult. United are very strong and are unbeaten at home, so it would be great to break that record. Everyone is waiting for the derby game, the players as well, because we know it’s one of the best games to play in and enjoy.”