Manchester United host Manchester City this weekend in what is the most hotly anticipated clash of the Premier League season so far.
While many have attempted to stoke the fires of rivalry the players and managers have tried to strike a more conciliatory note albeit while exuding the confidence you would expect ahead of such a big game.
Ferguson’s team have not lost at home since April 2010- when they lost 2-1 in what was a title-decider against eventual champions Chelsea – and Portuguese winger Nani believes that gives the Red Devil an advantage on Sunday.
“City have a fantastic team at the moment with fantastic players,” Nani said. “They are playing a lot of good stuff and it will be difficult to play against them. But we should not forget; we are United.
“When we play at home it is very hard to beat us. That is why we are so confident. With a record like ours, we should be confident every time we play at home. We have to believe we are going to win most of the games.”
City midfielder Nigel de Jong believes his team-mates will derive confidence from the fact that they are now looking down on United from the summit of the Premier League. “Everyone believes we can go there and win,” de Jong said.
“We’re going there as number one and the aim is to stay number one. We feel we can do that but United will be confident as well, and they’re playing at home, so it’s a massive game for both of us.”
Nani meanwhile rejected suggestions that Sunday’s game could be a title decider, pointing to the improved form of Chelsea, who face west London neighbours Queens Park Rangers in another Premier League derby this weekend.
“City are one of the teams who have been doing fantastically well since the season started,” said Nani. “But there are a lot of teams who are doing well and we need to be aware of them. Chelsea have been excellent for a start.
“It is too early to say it is just going to be about Manchester United and Manchester City for the title.”
Meanwhile third-placed Chelsea will attempt to build on their recent run of form against QPR at Loftus Road. QPR boss Neil Warnock insists his side will not be over-awed by the occasion.
“People will try and write us off, but the challenge of the Premier League is to try and do well against these teams,” Warnock said.
“Who’s to say we can’t do well against the big teams? There will be one or two shocks this season and hopefully we can provide it.”