Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says Manchester City’s Champions League schedule means the Premier League leaders have the advantage over his own side going into their crunch derby.
The local rivals meet on Sunday at Old Trafford, with third-placed United sitting two points behind league leaders City after nine matches played.
Van Gaal acknowledged his opposite number Manuel Pellegrini will have the edge in preparing his side for the game, given City are facing Sevilla at home on Wednesday, while the Dutchman has to take his United team to Russia and back for their clash with CSKA Moscow.
“Every club at the top of the league has the same problems but now Manchester City has a benefit because they are playing at home,” said the former Netherlands head coach.
“That is a difference. You have the benefit of the recuperation – Manchester City don’t have the travel we have so they have more rest.
“There is nothing you can do. They have the benefit but we do a lot of things to try and help.
“We have cold baths, we have warm baths, less training sessions and practice so the freshness is good enough to beat City. But first we have to beat Moscow.”
United have won five of their last six games in all competitions, with a 3-0 defeat to second-placed Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month their only recent setback.