Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United believe they are still the biggest club in the world even if they are not currently the best team in their own city.
The Red Devils have to redress the local balance first – starting with a Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at home against their neighbours – before they can even begin to think about re-establishing themselves as the top team in England, Europe and the rest of the planet.
And while the process has been inconsistent under the Norwegian, who as a former Red Devils player knew only superiority over City and the rest of the country, he is confident it will come.
“It is a different time. When the owners came in at City you knew they were going to go for it,” he said.
“I’m never surprised by anything in football and with what they have done they deserve to be where they are.
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“We are still in our own heads the biggest club in the world so of course we want to get back to where we were. It’s going to take time.
“You have to go for it at this club, that’s what we are here for, to take on the challenges that are given to us.
“We are Man United. We have been up and we’ve been down but we’ve always come back.”