PATRICE Evra has stoked the fires before a potentially tumultuous derby by claiming that Manchester City are more obsessed with beating Manchester United than winning trophies.
United will move to the top of the Premier League if they beat their bitter local rivals at the City of Manchester Stadium tomorrow and Chelsea lose to Fulham.
A victory for Roberto Mancini's team would put them level on points with United, but Evra believes that until City start beating them consistently and deliver silverware, their threats to alter the balance of power in Manchester will continue to ring hollow.
United have won five of the six derby matches since Sheikh Mansour bought City just over two years ago and Evra claims that United have become so accustomed to eclipsing City that winning the derby no longer registers as a particularly "special" feat.
Asked how he felt about City's suggestion that they can become the biggest and best team in Manchester, the defender said: "They always say that and they never beat us.
"We need to win every game. We don't need to just win against Manchester City. We look to win the league, that's it. And if we win, it is a good result for Manchester United -- it will be normal. It will not be so special.
"I can say it would be nice to beat Manchester City because it is a special game -- it is the derby and everyone wants to win -- but it is not the priority. The priority is to win the league."
United have been boosted by the return of several key players from injury or illness, with Nani, the Portugal winger, expected to play after recovering from a groin injury that threatened to keep him out. Striker, Dimitar Berbatov is also available after overcoming a virus and Ryan Giggs is likely to feature after a hamstring problem.
The game will be the first meeting between the clubs since the Wayne Rooney saga, when the England striker seemed to give serious consideration to defecting to City -- just as Carlos Tevez had done the previous summer -- before committing his future to United by signing a five-year deal.
Tevez insists he has "no regrets" at leaving Old Trafford for their local rivals and was disappointed that Rooney -- who will miss the match as he continues his rehabilitation from an ankle injury in the United States this week -- did not follow in his footsteps.
"I made the change and, so far, I'm not sorry," the Argentina striker and City captain said. "Wayne is a player of great quality. He was a friend of mine and he is one of those men that it is better to have on your team than against you."