Manchester derby is 'game of the season' says Herrera

Ahead of their trip to the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, United are fifth - a point and place behind their rivals as the race for a top-four finish intensifies.

Jose Mourinho said he would not return this season but Mata, 28, has given a rather optimistic view on when he will be back in on the field.

Guardiola won at least one trophy — often many more — in each of his seasons with Barcelona (2008-2012) and Bayern Munich (2013-16) but he's found it harder at City, where he arrived as the most coveted coach in world soccer. It is the game of the season.

"We understood the way they play and we played against their strengths".

"I don't know the "winner takes all" expression but it's going to be a massive game".

"We are in a very good moment, a very good run and we respect them but we are doing a lot of good things and we have to show it on Thursday".

Manchester United go into the clash with confidence after also recently outwitting Chelsea, with Antonio Conte's side failing to muster so much as a shot in the 2-0 defeat, with Herrera scoring one, assisting the other and producing a man-of-the-match display in marking Eden Hazard out of the game.

"I played [at centre back] a lot of times last season and I feel confident in the position, I feel good in the position and feel comfortable".

"I 'd never experienced circumstances in this way before (I've been really fortunate), but the reality is I'm feeling much better now and that I expect to be back together with the team shortly, to make an effort to aid in the final bout of the season". But now I know everyone is talking about it, but I want to forget it. The Red Devils have also progressed to the semi-final of the Europa League and will face Celta Vigo in the last four of the competition. It was a very good performance from the team too, I think, ' Blind told MUTV.

United midfielder Ander Herrera said he did not doubt Ibrahimovic's determination to make a full recovery.

  • Julie Sanders