A strong Manchester City can only help United

Steven Gerrard replies when asked if Man United will win the Champions League

It may only be the second weekend of December but if Manchester United lose at home to Manchester City on Sunday the gap at the top of the table will be 11 points and the title race - and José Mourinho's record of always winning the league in his second season at a club - will be as good as over.

It's still a little early yet for a Manchester Derby injury report, but United manager Jose Mourinho freely disclosed his team's fitness situation yesterday anyway.

They could choose to return to the United States, where they played three matches this summer, or remain in Europe.

The former Juventus star even had his walking gait and running style analysed, with a series of new exercises implemented to combat the massive loads he puts through his quads when suddenly changing direction in games.

Pogba was dismissed for a nasty challenge on Hector Bellerin.

City already sit eight points clear at the summit and a win over their neighbours would leave United with a mammoth deficit to make up, even with 22 games still to play in the campaign. The Frenchman picked up a 3 match suspension against Arsenal last week. And also went on to score two against Arsenal in his Premier League debut, and then scored the only goal in the Manchester derby, making him the youngest ever scorer in a Manchester derby in the Premier League era. Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick have all had fitness issues.

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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on the touchline during the EFL Cup, round of 16 match at Old Trafford, Manchester.

And with United also thought to be contemplating a return to the USA, that could raise the possibility of another Manchester derby taking place overseas.

He added, "Obviously, we are playing City and in this moment we need the points and we need to win".

"When I played for City they were not the biggest club, they were just OK, and in the derby we would fight hard because United were the dominant team at the time".

It was hardly ideal preparation for one of the most intense fixtures in their schedule but Fernandinho thinks the loss could be just the jolt the City team needed to stave off any complacency. If United beats City's high pressing game or steals possession to launch a counterattack, Lukaku may look to isolate and get behind Nicolas Otamendi.

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