Manuel Akanji: Manchester City are ready to win the derby at Old Trafford

The Switzerland defender will miss Sunday’s Premier League clash against Manchester United through suspension.

Andy Hampson
Thursday 26 October 2023 10:46 BST
Manuel Akanji, left, celebrates his goal against Young Boys (Anthony Anex/AP)
Manuel Akanji, left, celebrates his goal against Young Boys (Anthony Anex/AP)

Manuel Akanji is confident his Manchester City team-mates will deliver in this weekend’s derby at Old Trafford.

The Switzerland defender, who scored as City beat Young Boys 3-1 in his home country on Wednesday, will miss Sunday’s Premier League clash against Manchester United through suspension.

Akanji picked up a one-match domestic ban after being sent off in the closing stages of last weekend’s victory over Brighton but he is backing those who do feature to cut down their rivals.

“It is going to be a big game, it is going to be tough, but I trust in our guys,” said the 28-year-old, who started in City’s 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over United in June.

“I think we are ready for this game and we are going to get the three points on an away game again.”

City go into the derby with confidence now restored after their blip prior to the recent international break.

After hanging on to see off Brighton, the holders took another step towards the Champions League knockout stages as they beat Young Boys on their artificial pitch at the Wankdorf Stadium.

Akanji put them ahead early in the second half when he reacted quickly to turn in after a Ruben Dias header had been touched onto the bar.

Meschack Elia responded with a sublime lobbed equaliser moments later but Erling Haaland eased nerves from the penalty spot before making victory certain with a fine finish four minutes from time.

“Yes it was special,” said Akanji of his goal on his Swiss return. “I think we had already had a lot of chances in the first half and if we’d used them we would have scored three or four goals.

“We tried to go again in the second half. Obviously Young Boys had their chances too but we went up 1-0 and shortly afterwards we conceded.

“I think (the equaliser) was a little bit too easy but then we reacted to that and scored two goals, so I am really happy we got the three points.”

City now have nine points after victories over Red Star Belgrade, RB Leipzig and Young Boys in their opening three Group G matches.

They could secure their place in the last 16 for an 11th successive season with a follow-up win over the Swiss side at the Etihad Stadium in a fortnight.

Akanji said: “That was really good from us, two away wins, two tough ones. I think if we can manage to win the next game then it looks really good.

“I don’t say we are going to be through because you never know what happens, but I think with 12 points we’re looking really good for the next round.”

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