Manchester: Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini has denied his side will start as favourites when they head to Old Trafford tonight looking to heap more misery on Manchester United manager David Moyes.
Pellegrini's men might be forgiven for swaggering across town with a mighty 12-point advantage over their rivals, and knowing another win will take them a big step closer to reclaiming their English Premier League title.
But Pellegrini, whose first taste of the Manchester derby brought a thumping 4-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in September, has moved to play down the suggestion that the balance of power is in the process of inexorably shifting to the light-blue half of the city.
Pellegrini said: "I don't think we are favourites in any game. We are in a good moment but we are playing against a big team in their own stadium, so I don't think we are the favourites.
'We expect to win'
"Of course we always expect to go and win every game but, I repeat, just because Manchester United have had a difficult season it does not mean we are going to win. We have to go there and play a very good game."
City's 5-0 stroll against Fulham on Saturday sent them back into third place, six points behind leaders Chelsea but with three games in hand.
And to add to Pellegrini's options he will have captain Vincent Kompany back to bolster his defence at Old Trafford after serving a one-match suspension for his sending-off at Hull.
While Moyes' men will go into the derby in good spirits on the back of successive wins over Olympiacos and West Ham, Pellegrini also believes his side's torrid week against Wigan and Barcelona earlier this month could stand his own side in good stead.
"All of us want to stay in every competition but when you are eliminated one of the positive things is that we are now just focusing on the Premier League," added Pellegrini.