David Moyes has sent a warning to Manuel Pellegrini ahead of Tuesday evening's Manchester derby, stating the Chilean's boasts of his side being the city's biggest club are premature.
Last month, ESPN quoted the Manchester City manager saying that the Citizens had overtaken their bitter foes in the English ranks, but Moyes has reminded his Etihad Stadium counterpart that things can change quickly in football, per a separate ESPN report:
"United had lots and lots of seasons of domination," said Moyes. "I don't think I would have turned around and said we were the only club in Manchester because football changes, it goes in cycles."
There are currently 12 points separating the two sides, with the Citizens sitting third in the table on 63 points and chasing another Premier League title. United, meanwhile, are seventh having played two games more, leaving them with little more than pride to play for at Old Trafford.
It's the biggest distance that has ever been established in City's favour between the two rivals at this point of a Premier League campaign, but Moyes is adamant the Red Devils will rise from their depths once again.
The Old Trafford helmsman has also criticised the media ahead of Tuesday's clash for their handling of certain material, referring to when he recently conceded Liverpool were favourites to beat his side, per the Daily Mail's Ian Ladyman:
Jose Mourinho says City are favourites for the title. I don’t know if anyone replied to that when he said that but you were quite happy to reply to me saying it. You know the style I am. I try to be honest.
Some of you don’t write it the way I say it but that’s the difference between me and you possibly. We will do everything we can to win it. The fans know exactly where we’re at. They know exactly where we’re going and what the club’s plans are. There’s been other clubs recently that have had to go through periods of change and their supporters have had to do the same.
Moyes has been under an unfamiliar spotlight this season, and the challenge of succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson as United boss has understandably been telling at times.
Who will win at Old Trafford on Tuesday?
Following his side's 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool a week ago, the tactician admitted that taking over the reins of the Premier League champions was "harder" than he had expected, per Paul Hirst of The Independent.
United are trying to avoid back-to-back home league defeats for the second time this season, having lost to Everton and Newcastle United in front of their own fans within the space of three days in December.
The BBC's Juliette Ferrington quotes Moyes speaking of his confidence in his team's bounce-back potential, as well as his insight into the lack of defensive options currently at his disposal:
Moyes: "We are not as far away as many people would have us." Wouldn't say if any of his injured centre-halves would be available for Tues.— juliette ferrington (@juliette_grace) March 24, 2014
Stemming the City tide will be difficult considering Pellegrini's men are coming off the back of a morale-boosting 5-0 win against Fulham. They have also already beaten United 4-1 in the league this season.
The Red Devils do have life in their campaign yet, though, with a Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich on the horizon, and what better way to give the fans a much-needed jolt than by beating one's local rivals?
The Telegraph's Mark Ogden praised Moyes for his team selection following the 2-0 win over West Ham:
Best #mufc performance for months. Moyes called selection right to be fair to him.— Mark Ogden (@MOgdenTelegraph) March 22, 2014
Both Moyes and Pellegrini are having maiden campaigns in Manchester with a gulf between the successes they've respectively enjoyed thus far.
However, Moyes is keen to enforce the ideology that nothing is permanent in this game, and he will be hoping his side can spark a return to the top of English football sooner rather than later.