Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany says Manchester United have regained their desire to win the derby.
having won the last five meetings between the rivals.
Defender Kompany, 29, told
he believes Louis Van Gaal’s side will be desperate to end that run.
“For a long time I felt we wanted it more, but I think they’ve been hurt pretty badly and they’ll want it just as much now,” the Belgian said.
“They have their games against Liverpool, which are very important to them. For us, this is the most important game.
“In previous years I think we wanted it more but things change.”
Fourth-placed City, who are one point behind United in third, have won twice in their last seven matches and have only a slim hope of retaining their Premier League title.
but finished seventh last season with David Moyes in charge for most of the campaign.
The Red Devils spent £150m in the summer and Moyes’ successor Louis Van Gaal has re-established the team in the top four.
“I thought we were the big spenders in Manchester but that’s changed over the years,” Kompany said.
“They have good players, a good manager and a club with history. It was never going to be too long before they got back in there.
“The league’s got a lot tougher since they won it last. It’s only going to get more tough. I don’t think there’ll be any team dominating any more. It’ll be difficult.”
The average age of City’s starting line-up for the most recent
was 29 years and six months but Kompany rejected the suggestion that fatigue had contributed to the team’s poor recent form.
[Italy] were the oldest team in the tournament,” Kompany said.
“There always needs to be a story to explain something and in this case it’s the obvious thing to point out. Next year, we’ll be doing well and people will be saying it’s because we have a lot of experience. It’s completely irrelevant.”
City manager Pellegrini also maintained that his squad had simply hit a run of bad form.
“You know when a squad is behind you; you know when you work well or work badly,” said the Chilean.
“If you ask me why I’m not afraid – in my career I have never been a coward and I am not afraid.”