English Premiership

City, United set for epic derby

2012-04-23 21:02
Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini (File)

Manchester - The stakes have never been so high for a Manchester derby.

Sure, Manchester United were once relegated after losing 1-0 at home to City but results elsewhere on that day in May 1974 meant the Red Devils would have gone down even without a back-heeled goal from former United striker Denis Law.

This time around, the northwest neighbours' business is being conducted at the right end of the table.

United were in control of their own destiny until Sunday's 4-4 draw against Everton tipped the balance toward City, who can now win a first championship since 1968 if they win their three remaining games.

"We've given City the initiative; there's no question about that," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "It makes the game at the Etihad Stadium a really important game now. It makes it the title decider, really."

There is still a week and almost an entire round of Premier League action remaining before the northwest neighboors go head-to-head at City's Etihad Stadium but the game is already dominating the sports pages in the British press.

Even with two more matches for each team after next week, the encounter is more important than any of the 44 Manchester derbies Ferguson has previously been involved in.

"Definitely," Ferguson said.

United looked to have a record 20th title in the bag after overhauling City but they dropped five of the last nine available points and momentum now seems to be with City, who already mauled United 6-1 at Old Trafford this season for the worst defeat of Ferguson's 26 years in charge.

Everton's four goals mean United have conceded more goals at home than in any league season since 1978-79, leaving Ferguson to emphasise spirit rather than stats.

"We make it hard for ourselves but we have to go there knowing we're capable of getting a result," Ferguson said. "We need to get a result now at the Etihad, there's no question about that. There's no reason why we can't do that."

The one thing in United's favoor is the experience of the title winners in their ranks.

"It's a huge game," Nani said. "It will be a difficult game, but if you want to win the league you cannot think about the atmosphere or the opponents, we must just think about the way we play and try to win the game."

"We have to keep believing in our qualities because we still have a great opportunity to win the title."

Ferguson has been trying to suggest the pressure is on City because of their players' relative inexperience and City manager Roberto Mancini has seemed ready to embrace that diminished status despite his team's greater financial muscle and depth of squad.

Mancini pointed out that there are still two more games for each side to clinch or throw away the title.

Defending champions United host Swansea and finish at Sunderland, while City are at fourth-place Newcastle before hosting Queens Park Rangers on the last day of the season.

"We have another chance but they have a bigger chance than us at this moment," Mancini said. "After the derby, the games United have left are not as difficult as the ones we have to play."

Read more on:    alex ferguson  |  roberto mancini
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
26 April 2014
Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Fulham v Hull City, Craven Cottage 16:00
Swansea City v Aston Villa, Liberty Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v West Ham United, The Hawthorns 16:00
Manchester United v Norwich City, Old Trafford 18:30
27 April 2014
Sunderland v Cardiff City, Stadium of Light 13:00
Liverpool v Chelsea, Anfield 15:05
Crystal Palace v Manchester City, Selhurst Park 17:10
28 April 2014
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 21:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who do you think will be the next manager at Manchester United?

 
 
Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.