After experiencing a taste of the Manchester derby in the Carling Cup semi-finals at the start of the year, Roberto Mancini has been discussing the forthcoming league game this Saturday - one that has taken on an extra importance given the current situation both sides find themselves:
“All derbies are the same around the world in that the supporters live for these games and look forward to them more than any other game each year.
“In Milan, I won games and I lost a few – this is normal for derbies because often the league form doesn’t matter. It is about passion and desire and results don’t always go to form.
“While I have been in Manchester we have won one and lost one already, so this will be a difficult game but one we can win. “We need our fans to keep doing what they do each week and get right behind the team from the first minute to the last. They can inspire us to even greater heights and they have a huge role to play against United.”
In addition, and given the threat that Wayne Rooney possesses, Mancini revealed that he is more than happy to face him:
“For me, I think it is better if Rooney plays on Saturday. He is a fantastic player and has had an amazing season. He will be a danger, of course, but United have many fine players in their team – but we have beaten them once at home already and can do it again.
“I think it’s best if both teams are full strength and then the side who takes the three points can truly say the best team won and there is no reason that cannot be us.”
After a couple of relatively quiet derby years in the league, I have a feeling that with all the sub-plots surrounding this one that this one could be building up into one of the better ones of recent times.