Men's Team

Rodrigo: We want to make our fans proud

City midfielder Rodrigo insists there is much more at stake than just three points in Sunday’s Manchester Derby.

City welcome second-placed Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium for a 16:30 (UK) kick-off, knowing we could extend our lead at the top of the Premier League to 17 points.

And while the focus will be on improving our incredible run of 15 successive league victories, the Spaniard insists he and his teammates also understand the extra significance of the fixture in the eyes of our supporters. 

He said: “It is one of the greatest games you can play.

“United are one of the most historic clubs in the Premier League and it is always a tough game.

“It is the kind of games when we play for more than just a football game, we play for the pride of our fans, to make them feel proud of being City supporters.

“That is the reason why a derby is so important for us.”

City are on a fine run of form, with 21-consecutive wins in all competitions, including 15 in the Premier League. 

We are unbeaten in 28 games, and should we avoid defeat on Sunday, will set a new Club record for our longest unbeaten run. 

Nonetheless, the players are under no illusions about the dangers our opponents possess in their repertoire, and the areas they intend to exploit.

United have forged a reputation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a formidable counter-attacking force, capable of breaking forward with devastating pace.

Although he acknowledges the threat our rivals possess, Rodrigo believes that City need to focus on our own game to have the best chance of coming out on top.

“It is very important to control the opponent’s counterattacks,” he admitted.

“The key is being well placed in the pitch, focus, and be aggressive.

“We are an attacking side, and our game depends on getting the ball back as soon as possible when we press.

“Being focused on your part is an individual duty.

“Besides that, the team is working well offensively and defensively and when the dynamic is good you just want to keep going in the same way.”

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One incredible stat that recent Manchester Derbies have produced is that the home team have come away with a win in just three of the past 15 encounters in all competitions.

And Rodrigo is hoping that City can buck that trend by drawing on some of our previous performances, including the 2-0 Carabao Cup semi-final victory in January.

However, the Spaniard admitted having the fans inside the Etihad to cheer them on would have made what promises to be an exciting spectacle that bit more captivating.

“A derby is always special," he said. "It would be a very demanding game; we obviously miss the atmosphere in the stadiums.

“But they are a great side, they can always beat you, at home or away.

“We did it well on the most recent games against them, at home it has been a bit more of a struggle, but we hope we can keep the same good level.

“I’m pretty sure that if we give our best level, we have fair chances of winning.”

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