Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is eager to continue his excellent derby record against Manchester United to stop the Premier League title “slipping further and further away”.
City head into Sunday’s cross-town showdown at the Etihad Stadium having won one of their previous five Premier League matches – that triumph coming at home to bottom club Aston Villa.
The slump leaves Manuel Pellegrini’s side 12 points shy of leaders Leicester City and vulnerable to being only a point clear of United, should Louis van Gaal’s men claim derby-day spoils.
Following back-to-back goalless draws against Norwich City and Dynamo Kiev, City are likely to look to Aguero to spark them this weekend.
The Argentina international has scored eight times in as many matches against United, finishing on the winning side on five occasions.
“We have to win, even more so because the title is slipping further and further away, and we have to make sure we take fourth place,” Aguero said.
“We want the title, but we have to take into account that United are right behind us and it will be a tough game. We will have to play intensely.”
Aguero’s introduction to the Manchester derby was an unforgettable one as he scored the third goal in City’s 6-1 demolition of Alex Ferguson’s side at Old Trafford in October 2011.
The result marked a sea change in a fixture United largely dominated during the trophy-laden Ferguson era and the Scot’s farewell Premier League title in 2012-13 marks the only time in the past four seasons the Old Trafford club have finished above their neighbours in the standings.
“I think that over the last five years City have always competed hard in the derby but, as you say, at one point United were huge and City have invested a lot of money to bring in quality players,” Aguero added. “That has levelled the playing field.
“I don’t know what is happening at United, I focus on City and Sunday. We are thinking about winning and nothing else.”