City XI - Pogba In, De Bruyne Out?

Mourinho identifies three key positions to strengthen in £80m January spree

Mourinho is ready to strengthen

That brought the victor in the home game against Tottenham, when United sat deep and were largely content to frustrate, and, while it's unlikely City would succumb to quite such a simple goal as Spurs did, Martial and Lingard running from deep would be a huge test of Fernandinho's defensive capacities specifically and City's defensive organisation in general.

"The people around the club, when we start to win a lot of games, they start to say a lot of things and it's not good", he continued.

But Fernandinho still thinks United will be formidable opponents for City, who are bidding to extend their eight-point lead at the top of the table.

The derby takes place this Sunday (4.15pm).

Madrid finished the 2011-12 season as champions and Guardiola, worn out by the constant sniping, stepped down at Camp Nou and would not resurface at Bayern Munich for another year.

City have let in just ten goals but I'm minded to put that down to the irresistible form the team has shown going forward as much as any huge improvement at the back since last season when they were very flaky.

Mourinho made comments that evoked the signature scene in the classic movie "A Few Good Men", as gave status updates on six of his players, one of which, Nemanja Matic was previously thought to be injured to a degree of severity that he might have to miss the Manchester Derby. The game will be decided on how well United are able to resist City's endless waves of attack.

"It [the derby] is important for both teams".

Seven months on City look nearly transcendent, their sublime and devastatingly effective possession football reminiscent of Guardiola's great Barcelona team.

The then 18-year-old took the opportunity by the scruff of the neck; after an injury to Anthony Martial in the warm-up to an Europa League round of 32 clash against Midtjylland, scoring two goals in the second half of a 5-1 United win.

They followed up impressive wins at Watford and Arsenal with a 2-1 defeat of CSKA Moscow that sent them into the Champions League last 16 and have not lost at home since last year's loss to City - a run of 40 matches.

"They (United) might, for the first time this season, have just seen a little ray of hope", said former United captain Gary Neville in his Sky Sports podcast. Unfortunately, I won't be playing but I will be there to help the team mentally.

It landed him with a three-game suspension, which begins this weekend.

It is a look Guardiola knows all too well and its reappearance indicates the biggest managerial rivalry of recent times is about to erupt again.

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