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We are on course: Fergie

05 April 2013, 14:57

London - Alex Ferguson insists there is no chance Manchester United will allow Manchester City the satisfaction of slowing their title charge in Monday's derby at Old Trafford.

Ferguson's team are on course to regain the Premier League crown from their bitter rivals after opening up a massive 15-point lead over champions City.

A victory against Roberto Mancini's second- placed side would move United to within touching distance of the title, but Ferguson knows City would love to at least delay their neighbours' 20th championship celebrations by winning on Monday.

And with the finish line in sight, Ferguson is determined to ensure his players don't rest on their laurels.

"We've still got to win the title. We have eight games left. That's 24 points to play for," said Ferguson, who hopes to welcome back Wayne Rooney from a groin injury.

"The way we've approached things is the correct way and that's to win the next game, that's what we've always tried to do. Hopefully it takes you to winning the league.

"The important thing is to win Monday's game. It'll be a big game for City.

"They'll want to come and derail us for a spell. I can understand their motivation because we would probably have the same motivation. But we're at home.

"Our consistency in the league is there for all to see. I expect us to perform really well on Monday."

United's lacklustre FA Cup quarter-final replay defeat at Chelsea on Monday, together with the memories of last season's epic 6-1 win at Old Trafford, should give City encouragement that they can give their old enemies a bloody nose.

And while City's inconsistent league form looks to have scuppered their hopes of retaining the title, captain Vincent Kompany believes a victory over United would at least salvage some pride.

"A derby is a derby. I don't think we could care less about the league in that game," Kompany said.

"It is about who is going to be champions of Manchester, that is all it is.

"I don't expect Manchester United to be less motivated because they have this points gap between us where they are pretty safe.

"It will be like a one-off game, it will be like a cup final."

With the title race all but over, the real battles are being fought over the other two positions in the top four and at the bottom of the table.

Third-placed Tottenham host Everton looking to maintain their two-point advantage over fourth placed Chelsea, who face Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, while fifth placed Arsenal can keep the pressure on with a win at West Bromwich Albion.

Sunderland's trip to west London also has significance in the relegation struggle.

The Black Cats are only one point above the bottom three, a perilous position which prompted owner Ellis Short to sack boss Martin O'Neill and make the controversial move to hire Paolo Di Canio.

Former Lazio and West Ham striker Di Canio, who left his first managerial role with Swindon earlier this season, has been criticised for previously admitting his support for fascism, yet he is determined to ignore the furore and save Sunderland from the drop.

Di Canio may not have the support of all Sunderland's fans, but he hopes to win over the players quickly.

"It is obvious that when you arrive at a club you need to sit down and have a chat with them," he said.

"We have done that. I have had to look at the players, the experienced ones and the young ones, the players who look confident and maybe the players who are not so confident."

Reading manager Nigel Adkins will be out for revenge when his bottom of the table team face Southampton, who sacked him in January, while second bottom QPR have a must-win clash against fellow strugglers Wigan.



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