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Fergie eyes epic derby triumph

Updated: 2012-12-08 08:00
( China Daily)

Fergie eyes epic derby triumph

Alex Ferguson lit the fuse on a potentially explosive showdown with Manchester City as the Manchester United manager claimed a victory at Eastlands would be one of his club's greatest ever results.

For the first time in 44 years, City will go into the Manchester derby as reigning English champion, but the bragging rights from pipping United to the title on the final day of last season will count for nothing if Ferguson's side inflicts a first league defeat of the season on Roberto Mancini's men at Eastlands on Sunday.

United is three points clear of second-placed City at the top of the Premier League and the prospect of allowing its bitter rival to extend that lead is certain to provoke a ferocious response from the host after its exit from the Champions League in midweek.

With United showing alarming defensive frailties in recent weeks, encapsulated by a chaotic 4-3 win at Reading last week, Ferguson knows it won't be easy to subdue City, especially as the Blues have a formidable record on their home turf.

City hasn't lost a league home game since Everton won at Eastlands in December 2010 and it can also take confidence from a pair of league victories over its bitter rival last season.

In the circumstances, Ferguson believes a derby victory would rank as one of the all-time great United triumphs.

"If we win (on Sunday) it will be one of our best ever results. They are a really good, powerful team with massive players," Ferguson said. "It won't be easy and if we defend like we did at Reading we'll be in trouble.

"The important thing for us is to take lessons from the mistakes we're making and do something about it. We need to find a solution."

Mancini faced renewed questions about his future after City's latest European flop and a defeat to United would only add to the pressure on the Italian.

Reports of Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho replacing him at the end of the season will make unpleasant reading and, while Mancini is convinced he will be given time to get his spluttering team back on track, even he admits his players need to raise their game.

Agence France-Presse

(China Daily 12/08/2012 page16)

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