City won’t be rabbits caught in headlights when they take on United next Monday evening.
The Blues know they’ve been given a second chance in the title race and fans’ favourite Pablo Zabaleta says there will be no stage fright for the most important Manchester derby in living memory.
With United dropping five points in their last three games, the Blues suddenly find their destiny back in their own hands and City’s Argentine international says the players realise they’ve been handed a fantastic opportunity.
“We’ve never stopped believing in ourselves, but to be honest, after the Arsenal defeat I thought our chance had probably gone,” said Zaba, who is one game away from clocking up 150 appearances for the Blues.
"We've been five points clear before so we know how it feels, but United losing against Wigan and dropping points at home to Everton shows that in football you have to believe, because you just never know.
"If we have another chance for the title it's because we deserve it. We’ve kept going and we will continue to do that and see what happens.
“We know how important this game is. United are the team we want to beat, especially because it gives us the chance to get back to the top.
For the race for the title it's very important, that's why it's probably one of the biggest derbies ever
Zabaleta feels it is vital the Blues don’t change their style against United and play in the same manner that has brought maximum points and 12 goals since losing to the Gunners.
“We have to play the same as we play every game,” he said. “We need to be strong mentally, focus on what we have to do and give it our all.
“We've got the talent and we've got quality - we've got everything. But behind this the mentality and the attitude for that game has to be more than 100 per cent. I'm sure if we put everything into this game, with the quality we've got it can make the difference.”
City’s Mr Dependable also wants the Blues’ supporters to be at their very best, too, adding: “We need the support of the fans as always, but now more than ever.
“The role of our incredible fans cannot be understated for this game. This is the one we’ve all been waiting for and we all need to be together, both the players and the fans”