Juan Mata said ManCity cannot afford any slip ups as United look to give them a bloody nose in the derby and consequently overtake them in the table log.
Man City Pep Guardiola’s men are in a fine form this season and will travel to Old Trafford to take on the Red Devils on Sunday, who will attempt to end their rivals’ unbeaten Premier League run.
Mata told English reporters ahead of this weekend’s clash, “We are doing what we have to do.
“We would love to be first in the table right now but I think we are doing lots of good things.
“Now, especially on Sunday and during Christmas time, which we all know how difficult it is to win every single game, we need to keep that pace if we want to be in a position to challenge for the title at the end of the season.
“Hopefully we can do it. If we arrive in a position where we want to be in February or March then we can think about ”we won on Saturday and they won on Sunday”.
“It’s not the best feeling but we think about the bigger picture and for us we have to keep up the pace and keep winning and winning.
“I remember a few seasons ago when United were ahead of City and then they won by goals. It’s a crazy league and it’s too early to think that it’s finished,” Mata said.