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05 Oct 2011

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson says he is not surprised by Manchester City's impressive start to the season.

Ferguson's side have started the Premier League campaign in top form with six wins and a draw from their opening seven games.

However, Roberto Mancini's side will go into the international break level on points with the Red Devils.

"I've said all along that would happen," Ferguson told Inside United.

"They are a good team and they were always going to be there or thereabouts.

"Sergio Aguero was bound to do well, coming into the Premier League, because he is such a goal threat around the penalty box. David Silva is also a very good player.

"We just have to make sure we are ready for City when we meet them."

It is easy to understand why pundits are predicting an all-Manchester battle for this year's Premier League crown.

United hold a single goal advantage over City having found the net an incredible 24 times in their opening seven league fixtures with only one draw coming away at Stoke City.

Big-spending City boast a similar record, which has heightened anticipation for the first Manchester derby of the season on 23 October at Old Trafford.

Ferguson once regarded Liverpool as United's main foes but with Sheikh Mansour's £1bn investment bringing a host of world stars to City, the Manchester derby has now got an extra edge.

"All derbies are big now, that is the nature of the landscape," said the 69-year-old Scot.

"The impetus City now have - they have a huge squad of players and the financial power to attract some of the best footballers in the world - actually changes the focus of the derby these days.

"The talking point isn't so much the actual game but the dynamics of how Manchester City have changed football and what we do to compete with that."

Before United welcome City to Old Trafford, they travel to Anfield to face their other rivals Liverpool on 15 October, having lost on their last three visits there.

"We have been poor there of late," said Ferguson. "On a couple of occasions we have been out-fought by them, which is disappointing.

"The atmosphere plays a part. Every time we go there it is as if it's the biggest game of the century."

Source: bbc.co.uk

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