Manchester City have the edge in the title race despite losing to Manchester United and trailing their rivals by six points, according to Ryan Giggs.
The Old Trafford legend believes the Citizens’ group stage exit from the Champions League could end up having a positive effect in their Premier League form.
Roberto Mancini’s side failed at the first stage of Europe’s premier competition for the second time in succession, though this year was even more embarrassing as they finished bottom of the group on three points without a single win to their name.
Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson’s side experienced contrasting fortunes and had qualified for the knockout stages with games to spare after winning their first four fixtures in Group H.
Giggs feels the combining effects of United’s last 16 place and City not having any European football to handle could mean the Etihad Stadium club get a boost on the domestic front.
“City will have the week to prepare whereas we might have tough European games. They will have the advantage for the league,” he said.
“We are used to it, though. It all depends on when the games are and who we’ve got.
“But if it’s Wednesday, then 12.45 in the Premier League on the Saturday, it can be tough.”
Giggs may believe City will have a physical edge but Manchester United will have gained the upper hand psychologically owing to the manner of their victory last Sunday.
It looked as though there was only going to be one winner once City drew level, so Van Persie’s deflected free-kick will have been a crushing blow to the home side.
Ferguson’s side will find out their opponents for the round of 16 next Thursday December 20.