Roberto Mancini remains adamant that Manchester City hold the upper hand over Manchester United in the title race – despite their 3-2 defeat against Sir Alex Ferguson’s side in the FA Cup on Sunday.
City went down to 10 men when Vincent Kompany saw red after just 11 minutes following Wayne Rooney's ninth minute opener at the Etihad Stadium, and their prospects of progress to the fourth round looked bleak when Danny Welbeck and Rooney’s second effort made it 3-0 at half time.
However a spirited response from Mancini’s side in the second half meant United were made to sweat for the win as efforts from Aleksander Kolarov and Sergio Aguero set up a tense finish.
Mancini was delighted with his side’s second half display, and pointed to the fact that United had collapsed to a 6-1 defeat in their league encounter in October after having a man sent off as reason to take the moral victory.
"I think this is important for us in the league. I think now we can win the title,” the Italian commented.
"United have the top squad in England and if we can play like we did against them with 10 players, with that same attitude and same strength in every game, we will win.
"I am disappointed to lose the game but I think we still took two steps forward after this because we have shown character.
"When United played with 10 men against for 40 minutes at Old Trafford they lost 6-1. We played for 80 minutes with 10 and didn't concede any chances in the second half.”
City currently sit three points clear of United at the top of the table, with both sides going head to head at the Etihad Stadium in a potentially title-defining encounter three games before the end of the season.