Tuesday 24 April 2012
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is convinced their derby match at Manchester City next week will decide the championship.
The top two in the Barclays Premier League will meet at the Etihad Stadium, with United just three points ahead of their rivals after they were held to a 4-4 draw against Everton on Sunday and City beat Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The derby clash cannot mathematically decide the outcome of the title, with two further rounds of matches remaining.
But Ferguson is going into the match on Monday with the attitude that it is all or nothing for his side.
"We've given them initiative, there is no doubt about that," he said. "It makes the game at the Etihad a really important game. A decider really.
"It's not in our hands. We have three points less"
- Roberto Mancini
"There has been an expectancy from City that it could be their decider, but it's our decider too."
However, Ferguson's opposite number Roberto Mancini believes his Manchester City side are still the firm underdogs, despite hauling themselves back into the title race after slipping eight points behind their rivals.
"We have another chance but United have a bigger chance than us at this moment," said Mancini.
"We have three difficult games against United, Newcastle and QPR. Newcastle are fighting for the Champions League and QPR are fighting to avoid relegation.
"After the derby, United have two games which are not easy, but not difficult like us.
"Only one team can win this title. It's not in our hands. We have three points less."
30 April - Man City (A)
6 May - Swansea (H)
13 May - Sunderland (A)
30 April - Man Utd (H)
6 May - Newcastle (A)
13 May - QPR (H)