Ander Herrera says Manchester City’s summer spending makes them Premier League favourites, with Pep Guardiola’s trophyless first season meaning they currently have a greater obligation to win titles than Manchester United.
The Manchester rivals have shone in the opening weeks of the 2017-18 season, with the teams joint atop of the table with a haul of 13 points and plus-14 goal difference.
United certainly look far better than the toothless side that stuttered home in sixth last season, although Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield glory was a decent return in Jose Mourinho’s first campaign at the helm.
City ended third in the Premier League after a fine start under Guardiola petered out in an ultimately trophyless campaign – something that United midfielder Herrera suggests has increased the pressure at the Etihad Stadium, as has their free-spending summer.
“Man City have spent the biggest amount in the Premier League so they are the principle contenders for the title,” he said.
“We will try to be there as well, we have quality as well, and we will fight for every title. But I think because of the money they have spent they are the favourites.
“We will try to be there but they have spent the biggest money in the league.
“There is always pressure when you spend a lot but there is also pressure on us because we are the biggest club in England.
“We won three titles last season and City didn’t win anything. They are under pressure.
“They are obligated to win titles. We won three last season so they have more obligation than us.
“But you know when you play for Man United wining is an expectation and an obligation but I like that obligation to be honest.”
United kick off their defence of the EFL Cup against Burton on Wednesday, when Sergio Romero may well get his first run out of the season in place of the ever-impressive David De Gea.
Another summer of speculation did not bring about a move to Real Madrid, but the 26-year-old does not seem unsettled and produced another fine display in Sunday’s 4-0 defeat of Everton.
Herrera believes De Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world right now – “it is a gift from God,” he said of his compatriot – and hopes they play together at United for years to come.
“We are going to enjoy having him here and try to keep him at the club for as long as possible,” the Spain midfielder said.
“I think he wants to be a legend in the club which is important for us. If he is not a legend already, he is not too far away from being one of the legends of the club.
“Of course I can see him staying here for more years. How good is David now? We need to win titles to keep him with us. That is what we did last season.
“David is really happy at the moment because we are fighting for everything. We won three titles last season, and the FA Cup the year before and that is what he wants.
“Real Madrid are going to talk about it every summer because he is the best keeper in the world. But we don’t think we are far from Real Madrid, we won three titles last season, the only English team to do it.
“We are going to fight for everything. I just try to watch him and enjoy it. He is incredible. He has the ability to take one hand when nobody expects that.”
While De Gea is the first name on the team sheet, the man that succeeded him as United’s Player of the Year has struggled for game time this term.
Herrera has made just two starts for United this season and did not even make the matchday squad for the Champions League opener against Basel, but the midfielder is not getting het up by the situation.
“I feel as important as I did last season,” he said.
“I am a team player and I always say that and if the manager decides to keep me on the bench I will be ready. I said that last season and it is the same now.
“I know how lucky I am to play for Manchester United. That’s all.
“I will try to enjoy every minute I have on the pitch. I want to win titles and feel part of the team and feel important and I really do feel important because the manager makes me feel important.”