Wayne Rooney insists Manchester United are still the team to beat in the Barclays Premier League, despite falling three points behind their arch-rivals in the title race.
The Red Devils failed to match Manchester City's victory over Liverpool on Tuesday night, losing 3-0 to Newcastle at the Sports Direct Arena just 24 hours later, thus handing the advantage to their close rivals.
However, England international striker Rooney is in no doubt that United are still in a great position to claim their 20th domestic title, with experience in the closing stages a potentially key factor in their favour.
Rooney does admit though, that defeat to the Citizens in the FA Cup on Sunday could have serious psychological damage on their battle with the 'noisy neighbours'.
“For me, this game is not important for the Premier League, but maybe psychologically. After two defeats, maybe another defeat would be a problem for them, but United are very strong for this,” he told Nuts Magazine.
“People are entitled to their opinions, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t swap any other squad in the league for the one we’ve got. I think we deserve to be respected for what we’ve achieved over the years.
“We know how to win trophies – simple as.”
Rooney was happy to admit that City are now a legitimate force to be reckoned with in both English and European football, noting that their squad strength makes them a great team.
And, for Manchester as a City, Rooney can only see it as a positive as the two giants go head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium in the third round.
“They’re a powerful side with loads of good players. I’m happy that Manchester has two great teams. I can’t see a downside to that.”