Apr 17, 2010
United are hoping the tables turn in the title race after a damaging fortnight, while City are eyeing up the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
Much could rest on the outcome of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Eastlands, but equally the result at White Hart Lane, where fourth spot hopefuls Tottenham entertain league leaders Chelsea, could be equally significant.
“It’s not going to be easy, because Chelsea can afford a draw at Tottenham,” said the boss. “But it makes it really interesting and it should be an exciting day.
"Having seen Tottenham’s performance against Arsenal, you think to yourself ‘they are definitely capable of beating Chelsea’.
“If you look at the situation with City and Tottenham, neither team has ever been in the Champions League, so it’s fantastic. It puts a definite emphasis on the derby that has not been there before. In my 23 years here, we’ve not played City when they’ve had a chance of achieving something. A lot of neutrals will say it’s fantastic for the city, and it makes the game more appealing than ever.”
United’s chances of winning the title took a major hit after a 0-0 draw with Blackburn last Sunday. It means the trophy is now Chelsea’s to lose, but Sir Alex isn’t giving up hope. “We needed to win at Blackburn to put us right in the frame. We didn’t, so now we’re
hoping things turn in our favour, and things can happen. Football is like that. The situation is that we need to win the derby.
“It could be the most significant derby I’ve been involved in. City could get into the Champions League, and their form in the last few weeks has been excellent. Six goals against Burnley, five against Birmingham – nobody has scored five against Birmingham all season, their defensive record has been fantastic.”
The United boss did say that City getting into the Champions League would be “great for Manchester”, but obviously he wouldn’t accept that at his own team’s expense. And while Sir Alex isn’t promising there will be as much excitement as the two derbies at Old Trafford this season, he says it will perhaps be more decisive.
“You may get a disappointing game. Nerves may come into it,” he says. “It would be hard to equal the games at Old Trafford in the league and the Carling Cup this season. It would be tough to match that drama, the late goals – and the number of goals.
"We may get a disappointing game, but whatever happens you can be sure it is going to be pivotal for both club’s prospects for the rest of the season.
Labels: Manchester United