Ole Gunnar Solskjær insists that Manchester City will never eclipse Manchester United, with the manager claiming his club are "number one" in the city and so in probably the world.
United host the champions in Saturday’s 186th derby having not won the title since securing their 20th in 2013, the last of their 20 domestic titles.
Since then City have since claimed four – one under Manuel Pellegrini and three under Pep Guardiola, their current manager, having also won the Premier League in 2012 when Roberto Mancini was in charge – taking their total to seven crowns.
Alex Ferguson, who guided United to all of their 13 Premier Leagues, previously said City would never eclipse the club in his lifetime. Solskjær was asked whether he could imagine this in his own lifetime, given their rivals' recent pre-eminence.
“No, I can’t,” he said.
"But the thing is you have to have respect for what they have done in the last 10 years or even more so in the last four or five with how dominant they have been in England and in Europe. But we are Man Utd, we are always going to come back, I think we are the No 1 club in Manchester and that also probably means in the world."
Despite an uneven start to the campaign, that has included United losing 5-0 at home to Liverpool, they can draw level with City on 20 points if Pep Guardiola's side are beaten at Old Trafford.
“Yes it’s an important game and with a win we still have got the possibility to close up to the teams in front of us,” Solskjær said.
“We have just got to keep on picking up points, get further away from what we did against Liverpool and move on. The Tottenham game [a 3-0 win last Saturday] was miles better but we need to improve in all the aspects of the game.
“It is only the start of November so we are not going to talk about the end position in the table but still every game in this league is massive and if you can manage three points it’s a job well done.”
United have not played at Old Trafford since the Liverpool loss and Solskjær wants his players to prove against City that lessons have been learned from that embarrassing match.
“We have to show it and that is the game in football,” he said. “There’s too many that talk a good game. We will have to play a good game.”
Solskjær also denied that Jadon Sancho, who was signed in the last transfer window, could have a season similar to that endured by Donny van de Beek last season. The Dutchman was signed in September 2020 but rarely played, and it has been a similar situation for Sancho so far this term.
“Jadon will play a lot of games,” Solskjær said. “In the last couple of games he has suffered from the system we have played but we will not be a permanent 3-5-2 team. I speak to him regularly so [all] will be fine.”