I hope Rooney plays when we win derby, says Mancini

City manager keen to face full-strength United so he can claim victory on merit

Roberto Mancini wants Wayne Rooney to face his Manchester City side at Eastlands on Saturday – so there will be no excuses from Manchester United if they lose the derby.

Rooney has been an influential figure for the faltering champions this season, scoring 34 goals in all competitions. However he has been troubled by an ankle injury and sat out the goalless draw against Blackburn on Sunday. The problem first occurred in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena last month, when the striker was forced to limp off .

United would appear to need Rooney more than ever as Chelsea's 1-0 victory against Bolton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night took them four points clear of Sir Alex Ferguson's side with only four games remaining in the campaign.

City have already beaten United at home this season with Rooney playing – in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg – and Italian manager Mancini does not see why his team cannot repeat that feat again.

"I think it is better if Rooney plays on Saturday," he told the official Manchester City website. "He is a fantastic player and has had an amazing season.

"He will be a danger, of course, but United have many fine players in their team – but we have beaten them once at home already and can do it again.

"I think it is best if both teams are full strength and then the side who takes the three points can truly say the best team won and there is no reason that cannot be us."

Mancini enjoys derby days and was in charge of numerous Milan battles and believes there are many similarities between the two big city clashes. "Supporters live for these games and look forward to them more than any other match each year," he said. "It is about passion and desire and results do not always go to form.

"Of course, this isn't just a game about local pride, we want to finish in fourth place and every match from now until the last will be just as important.

"We need our fans to keep doing what they do each week and get right behind the team from the first minute to the last. They can inspire us to even greater heights and they have a huge role to play against United."

Manchester United winger Gabriel Obertan is intent on taking part in the run-in after scoring twice in successive games for the reserves. Obertan, who arrived from Bordeaux in the summer, has been out of the first-team picture following the defeat by Everton in February.

However the 21-year-old believes his game is improving and he found the target for the reserves against Liverpool last night with manager Sir Alex Ferguson looking on.

Obertan told MUTV: "It is good for the confidence to score some goals and good when the manager is watching the game.

"There are four matches left in the Premier League so it would be nice to be able to have a few minutes on the pitch. It's been a bit difficult the last couple of months but I've worked hard with the reserves and in training, and it is paying off."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
voicesBy the man who has
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?