Manchester City's David Silva has said that his club no longer need to focus on Manchester United and have crossed a psychological frontier, having defeated them twice in the Premier League in the course of one season.
City have defeated United home and away in the top flight only once in the past 32 years but that double in the 2007-08 season, when Sven Goran Eriksson was the manager, carries nowhere near the resonance of Monday night's 1-0 win, which leaves Roberto Mancini's side on the threshold of a power shift in the city and the Premier League.
"We are ready to win the title," Silva said yesterday. "We don't concentrate on United. We concentrate on ourselves. We beat them there, we beat them here. We know how we want to play. We know where we want to be. Don't get me wrong – United are a great team; a fantastic team. They've been winning titles for a long time. But we beat them there, we beat them here. We don't need to think about United. We've passed that mental stage. They are a great team and they have been winning and winning and winning, but we are here to make things difficult. We believe we can win the title."
The 26-year-old Spaniard, who has shaken off the worst of a recurrent ankle injury to help City claw back United's eight-point advantage in the title race, said Mancini had deflected the pressure from his players by suggesting publicly that the title was lost. "He has certainly taken the pressure off the players, which always helps because the pressure is always there between Manchester United and City. I'm not sure how Mancini does or doesn't look upon [his United counterpart, Sir Alex] Ferguson. I'm sure he sees him as a great, influential manager. Of course, Ferguson is both those things. But Mancini doesn't transfer that fact to us."
Silva said Monday's win could be his most important in domestic football if City can beat Newcastle United on Sunday, a game he now considers to be the club's "cup final".