Kevin De Bruyne is wary of a Manchester United response as Manchester City seek to avoid more derby pain in the Premier League.
City make the trip to Old Trafford for Saturday’s showdown against United, who were bundled out of the Champions League via the group stage on Tuesday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United are under pressure to bounce back, despite winning four consecutive Premier League matches to be seventh and a point clear of City, but five adrift of leaders Tottenham.
United are looking to beat City for the third consecutive match in the top flight for the first time since a run of four victories from 2008 to 2010, and De Bruyne is not underestimating the Red Devils.
“I don’t think the game is more important for them,” said City star De Bruyne.
“But we need to be careful because everything that has happened this week, it is a good game for them to change the switch.
“They will want to show a different side to what happened in Leipzig [3-2 loss to RB Leipzig] and we need to be aware of that.”
While United have struggled defensively at times in 2020-21, Solskjaer’s side possess an attacking threat.
Bruno Fernandes headlines United’s threat, having been involved in more Premier League goals (15 scored, 11 assists) than any other player since his debut in February.
“They have some new players and maybe they will play a bit more offensively but we will see,” De Bruyne added, after City lost three games to United last season.
“After five minutes you are going to know what is happening in the game. They played defensively and on the counter last season and picked us off really well.
“I remember the home game when we lost 1-2 but we made a couple of mistakes and it was difficult to come back. They won three out of four last year so we need to try and make that right.”
City have won seven Premier League away games at Old Trafford, more than any other visiting side, with six of their seven such victories away to United coming in the previous nine seasons.
Of all managers to have faced City boss Pep Guardiola at least four times in all competitions, Solskjaer has the highest win rate against the Spaniard, with the Norwegian winning three of their five meetings.
“It’s an ask for Man United, not for us or myself,” Guardiola said. “The previous season is the previous season. In previous seasons we did it better, that’s true. But why? That’s a question for Man United.
“Every derby is interesting and nice. Being in front or not in front. It’s always a little bit special, of course, but you have to be focused on the game.”
Guardiola added: “Of course it’s difficult [to defend against]. All big clubs have incredible players up front.
“We have to try to punish them. They know we got to Old Trafford trying to win. We cannot deny they are exceptional club and team.
“We knew it when I was at Barcelona and we faced them in the Champions League. Knew it when I arrived. I cannot say since I arrived they do not have a good squad, they have.”
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