Jesse Lingard is confident Manchester United can spoil Manchester City’s Premier League party this weekend.
Saturday’s Manchester derby offers Pep Guardiola’s men the ideal chance to make amends for the shock 3-0 loss at Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
It was an uncharacteristic performance from swashbuckling City, whose exquisite form is epitomised by their eye-watering 16-point lead over second-place United.
So strong is their position that victory on Saturday will see them wrap up the Premier League against their near neighbours, but in-form Lingard believes United can frustrate their rivals if they ignore the background noise.
“We have played there before and performed and did well, so I don’t see why we can’t do it again,” the United attacking midfielder said.
“The lads’ heads have to be right and we have to 100 per cent focused on our job and get the three points because that’s what we are playing for.”
Asked if it was more important because City can win the league, Lingard told Sky Sports: “You have to see it as just a game because if you let other things come into play it might affect your performance, so you have to go into it like any other game.
“You have the lads beside you giving 100 per cent and as long as we perform on the day we can get the three points.”
City secured a deserved 2-1 win when the sides met at Old Trafford in December but they have not beaten United at the Etihad Stadium since November 2014.
Last season Guardiola’s men were held 0-0 at home and the 2015-16 meeting ended 1-0 to the visitors thanks to Marcus Rashford.
It was a special moment for a player that had only just made his first-team debut – a memory that makes the academy graduate want to stick it to City at the Etihad Stadium once more.
“The team played brilliantly that game and we deserved to win,” Rashford said.
“That feeling going away to a big team is something special. To do it together as a team, you hold it with you and it gives you the strength and motivation to continue doing it.”