Eliaquim Mangala believes Aston Villa will have extra motivation for Sunday's clash against City.
Though the Villans have had little to cheer of late, sitting bottom of the Premier League table, the Frenchman asserts the appointment of their new boss, Remi Garde, will serve as a major boost.
The defender echoed Manuel Pellegrini's sentiments on the subject of 'new manager syndrome', but added the Blues must concentrate solely on their own task.
He declared: "It will be a tough game. They have changed their manager now and all the players want to prove their quality - to prove they can play for the new manager.
"They fight to stay in the Premier League and we know that first game is always different. Maybe the mind-set has changed for them.
"If we play our game though, we have to win there. That’s the most important thing for us. We must focus on our game."
The 24-year-old expects the hosts will be difficult to break down again but feels his side are more than capable of coming away with three points.
He recalled: "It was a tough game. I remember we scored goals very, very late during the game.
"It will be the same on Sunday but we won there last season and we have the quality to win as well.
"It was early in the season for me. Of course, it is different if I compare now but the past is the past and I am focused on the next game."
On the subject of his current form, the centre-back expressed his delight, admitting it took time for him to adapt to the Premier League.
"I feel very good," he stated. "I have started well. I try to help the team and I’m confident when I start the games.
"It’s totally different [from last season]. I feel very, very well physically. I’m used to fighting with the strikers and the rhythm of the game.
"That has helped me now to play more comfortably.
"I have to continue like that - to perform on the pitch because we have so much competition to play this season and then we will see what happens at the end of the season.
"Competition is good. I’m happy. It’s motivated me to improve step by step. When you are at one step, you want to keep going - to move further up.
"I want to improve every day in training and during the games. That’s important for me."
Mangala has had three defensive partners this season - Vincent Kompany, Martin Demichelis and Nicolas Otamendi. While some believe a consistent centre-back pairing is the key to success, the Frenchman insists he has a great relationship with all three of his teammates.
"It’s very good for us," he said. "I knew Martin and Vinnie from last season and I knew Nico at Porto. It’s easier to play with them.
"We have some parts that are different. I think Nico and Martin are similar players - and the same with Vinnie and me - but we complement each other and that is very good for the team.
"It means we can play against United with Vinnie and Nico and then two days later, we can change the defence and I play with Martin. This is very important for our team."
With City currently sitting top of the Premier League and comfortably through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League, the Blues are certainly enjoying their football, winning seven of their last eight in all competitions.
Mangala has urged his team to continue their excellent form for as long as possible; also in European competition, despite their qualification.
"I think it’s a good moment for the team," he reflected. "We have to keep going to win every game and we have a good mentality.
"We have a big squad and even with players injured, we keep winning and that’s the most important thing - the team spirit.
"It’s too early to speak about the title because it’s only November. In the Champions League, we have to finish first now. It’s our responsibility.
"When you play for a team like Manchester City, you have to be ambitious and we have the players to do that."