The Manchester United players will have to work hard against neighbors City on Sunday afternoon.
If they don’t, they will face a caning after last November’s 2-0 defeat.
The one that could have been 6-0 if Pep Guardiola’s side bothered to score that many goals.
The sight of City playing with United at Old Trafford on that dismal afternoon was one of the biggest results that cost Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his job as manager of the Red Devils.
It’s one thing to lose against City, losing while your opponents are going through the moves and barely bothering to attack is another.
United players couldn’t even get City’s ball that afternoon, they had to chase shadows.
It was a sobering experience for everyone associated with United. The game revealed the gap in class between the teams.
On Sunday at the Etihad, United’s XI just have to put in a shift, have their men and the ball under control.
They have to attack each other, tackle each other, mark each other, chase lost balls and do something to stop this great City team from playing the way they want to play.
Above all, it’s about time the captain showed up. Games like Sunday’s were made for Cristiano Ronaldo.
In the context of what’s going on in the world, it seems crass to say that this is the greatest football match played in the world today.
But it is, making it an ideal opportunity for Ronaldo to score a goal or two and make up for some underperforming efforts of late.
His teammates must also do better, much better.
Or Kevin de Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden and whoever else of his star-studded cast decides to play Pep will let off steam.
If United managed even one draw, it would help Liverpool in their title bid.
And United don’t like helping anyone from Anfield with anything.
But they don’t like being fooled by the “noisy neighbors” either.
So United should just keep playing football and not worry about who is doing better in the title race.
And anyway United have to worry about themselves after last weekend’s disastrous home game against Watford.
They need every Premier League point they can muster if they are to fend off Arsenal, West Ham and Spurs in the race for fourth place in May.
Mind you, the fact that United could finish fourth is a condemnation of the standard of this season’s top flight in England.
United haven’t played well at all and yet they have a chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League. And soon they could be even higher.
Because what happens when Chelsea’s new owners are unwilling to invest the £1.6billion Roman Abramovich has invested in Stamford Bridge over the last decade and are now willing to write it off just to see the club for sale?
Will Chelsea lose the pace now set by City and Liverpool at the summit and drift back into the pack?
What happens when Chelsea can no longer shell out £97m for a centre-forward like Romelu Lukaku who doesn’t seem like the manager’s main attacking type?
These are just some of the questions that arose.
All you know for now is that Manchester United has a long way to go to reach the level of this season’s ‘Big Two’.
Anyone who joins as a manager in the summer needs a thick checkbook to be able to clear out some of the deadwood at Old Trafford.
Because there are players on the staff at the moment that United will simply never win a major trophy with – they are not good enough for Manchester United!
But they could earn a few brownie points with the backers by making it look like they care on Sunday afternoon.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/premier-league/manchester-united-should-focus-on-derby-win-and-not-worry-about-who-ends-up-better-off-in-the-title-race-41416012.html Paul McGrath: “Manchester United should be focused on winning the derby and not worrying about who will do better in the title race”