Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany last night insisted his side should not "get too far ahead of ourselves" heading into tomorrow's derby fixture, despite dropping only two points from eight games so far to enter the fixture as Premier League leaders.
The Belgian shrugged off suggestions that City could go five points clear with a win at Old Trafford. "Coulda, shoulda, woulda ... I'm not going to speak hypothetically," he said. "We could go five points clear, but at the same time Chelsea will still be there, so we're not just playing against United. There's a whole league there, a lot of teams who are trying to get there. Liverpool's performance against United is more proof that there will be a lot more teams challenging, so let's just see if we can carry it on at Old Trafford."
City have had by far the easiest opening run of fixtures of those clubs challenging for top-four slots, and Kompany acknowledged that Liverpool's performance against the champions last week revealed there is an abundance of threats. Indeed, Roberto Mancini cited Liverpool, rather than Arsenal, as strong challengers yesterday.
Kompany agreed that going into the derby on top of the league presented more pressure. "Yeah, but it's all about your mindset, isn't it?" he said. "You decide whether or not you put pressure on yourself, and for me there's no pressure. We're in a position where we shouldn't have to think too much. We don't have teams above us, we only have sides underneath us. All we have to do is think of preparing as well as we can for the United game and then something good might happen on Sunday evening, that we might be five points clear. Pressure is all about your own mindset and for me there's no pressure."
The captain was the player caught when Wayne Rooney scored his wonder goal in last season's fixture. "It was one of our better games at Old Trafford. I think we had a really good game, but this is a different season," he reflected. "I think we've made a lot of progression and it's a one-off. Three years ago City won twice against United in the league but were nowhere in the table, but now we could lose and still be champions.
"What I'm trying to say is that it's a one-off and that's the good thing about this game. You shouldn't think too much about what happens after the points or what happens before. It's just this game."