Crerand backs United to come good
United go into international week behind City in the Premier League but Manchester's big two have it all to do to take the title from champions Chelsea. The Blues last finished higher than the Reds back in 1991 when City were managed by Peter Reid and Sir Alex Ferguson was masterminding the early stages of the United revolution. Bookie Fred Done now has City at 5/4 to finish above United. The Salford-based millionaire, who is an avid Red told MEN Sport: I hope that United are not in some kind of slow decline with an ageing team and no money like Liverpool. Our only hope is with the greatest manager in the world. Here our Reds man Stuart Mathieson speaks to Paddy Crerand to see if he thinks the league situation will last. Paddy Crerand welcomes City's arrival as a Big Four challenger but believes the Blues will have to be content looking up at the Reds and Chelsea come May. The former United midfielder was a key component of Sir Matt Busby's 60s Old Trafford team that contested the Kings of Manchester battle with Joe Mercer's City. Paddy laments the 40-year spell when the local rivalry gradually faded away. Last season was getting back to the good old days from my time when there was a tension and excitement in Manchester football, he told M.E.N. Sport. I thought it was great to have that atmosphere back in the City and it is obviously going to increase and get better. I have missed the banter. One of my best mates is a Blue, we go to the gym every day, and for so long there hasn't been much mickey taking and teasing at all because City just weren't a threat for so long. You can't really have the same verbal jousting when your neighbour is not a danger to you. But now the old banter is back and it is superb to have it again. Crerand even believes that Roberto Mancini's side have elbowed Liverpool firmly out of the picture as the biggest foe in the area. For so long it was Liverpool who were looked on as the big challenge by United, Paddy added. "When we got the upperhand for so many years and knocked them off the top the rivalry just intensified. Chelsea and Arsenal have come into it as well but nothing was as fierce as the one with the Anfielders. But I think that has changed now. Liverpool are struggling and City certainly recognised now by United as a top challenger. They are going to be fighting it out right to the end of the season I don't think there is much doubt about it. I know it is early days and they've only just gone above United but I think it will be nip and tuck right to the end. And so they should be putting in a challenge with all the money they have spent. You wouldn't expect anything less. When you have spent the kind of cash City have, then you have to have a return on it. If you don't, then you can imagine many changes of managers until it comes right. That is a big pressure. Without question I think all United fans have to be worried by City's emergence as a genuine force. We have really been top dogs for most of the last four decades since 1968 but you cannot dismiss what is happening at Eastlands. People might be envisaging a shift in power in Manchester but for all that City have improved and are in the mix, it is not the end of the world for United. I have said since the start of the season that whoever finishes above Chelsea will be the champions. I still believe that I can only see United achieving it. As strong as City are looking I still firmly imagine that it will be United and Chelsea occupying the top two positions. What do you think? Have your say.
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