Ferguson expected City challenge

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that he expected local rivals Manchester City to challenge for the title this season, which puts a bigger impetus on the derby matches between the two teams.

Both clubs have only dropped two points from their first seven games, and sit joint top of the Premier League on 19 points, but the Scottish coach has not been surprised at the Etihad Stadium outfit’s strong start.

“I’ve said all along that would happen,” he told Inside United.

“They are a good team and they were always going to be there or thereabouts.

“Sergio Aguero was bound to do well, coming into the Premier League, because he is such a goal threat around the penalty box. David Silva is also a very good player.

“We just have to make sure we are ready for City when we meet them,” he continued.

With small margins likely to separate two excellent sides, Ferguson knows the derby matches against Roberto Mancini’s men could be all important.

“All derbies are big now, that is the nature of the landscape.

“The impetus City now have – they have a huge squad of players and the financial power to attract some of the best footballers in the world – actually changes the focus of the derby these days.

“The talking point isn’t so much the actual game but the dynamics of how Manchester City have changed football and what we do to compete with that,” he concluded.

By Gareth McKnight