Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United remain a bigger club than Manchester City despite their rivals’ recent rise.
All eyes will be on the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening as the blue and red halves of the city collide in the 179th Manchester derby.
United have a superior overall record in this fixture but City head into the match as reigning Premier League champions – their third title since United’s last success under the retiring Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Saturday’s hosts have certainly had more to crow about in recent years and the City Football Group is now valued at an eye-watering £3.73billion after Silver Lake last month paid £389million for just over a 10 per cent stake.
United were valued at £2.95bn by Forbes in May and sit sixth in the Premier League standings, 11 points behind third-placed City after just 15 matches.
But asked if United continue to be a bigger club than City, Solskjaer said without hesitation: “Yeah.”
That response was to the point and shorter than an earlier answer that saw the Norwegian poke fun at City.
Solskjaer joined United as a player months after their near neighbours dropped out of the Premier League in 1996, with City only returning to the top table in 2000 after falling as far as the third tier.
It meant the striker had to wait five years to get his first taste of a Manchester derby in April 2001.
“At least we play every year now! It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself,” Solskjaer said.
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“But it’s changed in a way. Of course Man City are a better team now than when I was playing.
“I think football has changed quite a lot. I think it allowed a few more proper tackles – with every little angle, everything being scrutinised now, it’s more of a technical, tactical game than physical and mental one.
“But, still, a derby should be played as a derby. We don’t play basketball, so we’re ready for that if that happens.”