DAVID MOYES wants Manchester United to prove they are still a force to be reckoned with by beating Manchester City tonight.
City are big favourites for the derby at Old Trafford due to their higher league standing and the fact United have struggled against the top teams in the league this year. A 1-0 victory against Arsenal aside, Moyes' men have not beaten any of the sides in the top nine in what has been a truly disappointing maiden season.
Moyes wants that to change though.
"We we want to try and perform better in the bigger games than what we have done," the United manager said. "It will be important for us to show the level of what we have got. I think we have got the level and we are not as far away as many people would have us and I have no doubt it will improve. We want to show we are still in there fighting."
United are 12 points behind City, and Manuel Pellegrini's men have played two less matches.
The Red Devils go into the match on the back of encouraging wins against Olympiacos and West Ham though. United had to field Michael Carrick at centre-half at Upton Park because of injuries to Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans and Rio Ferdinand. Nemanja Vidic was also absent through suspension. The United captain remains banned for the visit of City, but Moyes would not give away anything about the fitness of the three injured players.
"For this Premier League game, we'll do everything we possibly can to get the (injured) players back," was all that Moyes would say when questioned on the matter.
Should none of the trio be fit, Moyes is certain he has a good enough back up in Carrick.
Moyes said: "Michael did great at centre-half. He's played there before, so it wasn't a problem.
"We even considered putting (Marouane) Fellaini back there as well, so I think we've got people who can do that if we have to.
"We gave Patrice Evra a rest, but if we have to, I think we can put him there as well and he would cope manfully."
Moyes thinks Wayne Rooney may have a big bearing on the outcome of the derby.
"Wayne's form this season has been very good, his goal capped off what everybody is aware he's capable of," the United boss said.
"He's spoken about a lot because of his ability as a footballer. He showed it on Saturday in a way maybe everybody is aware he's capable of."