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Man Utd V Man City at Old Trafford : Match Preview

Updated 08 Apr 2013 10:01:29

Man Utd V Man City at Old Trafford : Match Preview

Man Utd V Man City - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Ferdinand focused only on the prize

Rio Ferdinand has no intention of getting distracted by record points hauls or winning the Barclays Premier League by the biggest margin.

Both records have been mentioned in the last couple of weeks as Manchester United pulled 15 points clear of Manchester City in the title race.

But as the two sides prepare to do battle in Monday's derby clash at Old Trafford, Ferdinand is intent on remaining fully focused on landing the major prize.

"It is just about winning," he said. "If anything comes after that then great. If you win the league before the end of the season you can set other targets.

"For me personally we need to get the trophy first, then you can think of all the other stuff that goes on around it."

Ferdinand is not prepared to say anything more controversial than a United win would put "a big dent" in City's own hopes.

That is a massive understatement as even a Blues win would need to be followed by four more favours from Premier League rivals to open the door. It seems impossible. Yet the mantra from Old Trafford remains the same.

"Each game will take its own course," said Ferdinand. "This one will do the same.

"Everything gets put aside in a derby game. We have to make sure we put pressure on them, make sure they know they have been in a really tough game and will be disappointed at the end because we have won."

For all the disappointment of Monday's FA Cup exit at Chelsea, a run of six successive Premier League clean sheets has given United a solidity missing from so many of their early season performances.

It is one Ferdinand is happy to embrace, even if it comes at the cost of some element of excitement.

"At the beginning of the season we were playing open, expansive football, which I am sure was good for the fans to watch," he said.

"But, being a defender, my first instinct is to defend and keep clean sheets and we weren't able to do that.

"We addressed it. That is the most pleasing point. And now we are benefiting from it."

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini intends to use the derby to prove his team are not hugely inferior to Manchester United.

With just eight games remaining, Mancini has conceded defeat in the title race. But he is convinced the sizeable gap is not a true reflection of the difference between the sides and he wants City to show that on the field.

The Italian said: "To play there is difficult - the stadium is big, their supporters, their team is strong. But there is not a big difference between us and them.

"If it is not important for the table or the title race, I think the derby is always a derby. It is important for us and for them.

"We want to show we don't deserve to stay 15 points behind and we can reduce the gap from now to the end.

"But the title race is finished."

City's last visit to Old Trafford, the 6-1 thrashing they handed out back in October 2011, will long be remembered in the blue half of the city but nobody is seriously expecting a repeat this time.

"This is impossible," Mancini said. "This can happen every 100 years."

City are close to a clean bill of health for the game with only right-backs Micah Richards and Maicon, who have both been sidelined with knee injuries, definitely ruled out of contention by Mancini.


PA

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