Jose Mourinho claims that Sergio Aguero’s suspension makes Manchester United’s task in the derby “more difficult”.
Aguero will serve the first game in a three-match ban on Saturday after elbowing Winston Reid of West Ham in a fixture in August.
It remains to be seen how Manchester City will play without their star striker, but Pep Guardiola has a number of possibilities.
The Spaniard could use Kelechi Iheanacho as a starting striker in a straight swap, while Nolito has also featured as a forward, albeit rarely.
But Mourinho believes that Aguero’s absence makes United’s task much harder at Old Trafford.
“It is more difficult,” he said. “When Aguero is available he plays, we know their formation. He doesn’t play and they have amazing options. Could be Iheanacho, Sterling, Silva as a false nine. They have so many options. We have to go step by step. We have to reduce the unpredictability.
“I am normal. For us, it is a game and for me especially. We are playing to try and win the title. When you do this there is no match more important than another one when it comes to this stage of the season.
“I know what a derby means for everyone; I’ve played derbies everywhere, in every country, in so many cities. I always want to be in the position of emotional control because for me it is just a game against a very good opponent. If you want to be successful and you want to win the game then we have to be at the top of our qualities.”