It’s arguably the most eagerly anticipated Manchester derby for four seasons but Kevin De Bruyne emphasises that there only three points at stake in Saturday’s showdown.
Despite his modest years, the Belgian playmaker is a veteran of derby days in a number of leagues and knows how foolish it can be to let the heart rule the head on occasions such as these.
The 25-year old is happy to let the fans bring the emotion to the game and will instead focus on helping to execute the gameplan Pep Guardiola lays out to maintain City’s 100% start.
Kevin said: “I try not to get too emotional and instead just try to play my game. Hopefully at the end we can win it for the fans and that will be a big boost for them.
“I don’t think winning this game gives the team a psychological edge. It can turn so quickly in football. You try to win a lot of games in a row to gain an advantage but it can turn quickly like we had last year.
“It means a little bit more because it’s a big game and you want to prove yourself in the first really big test of the year to show everybody that we’re ready but if we lose then it is only three points.
“I want to be there at the end, not at the beginning. If we can do it now and maintain it then that’s even nicer.”
De Bruyne is not of the opinion that the Premier League will be a two-horse, all-Mancunian race this season.
The 2014/15 Etihad Player of the Season believes that all of the usual contenders are in with a shout of lifting the trophy in May.
“United are doing well also,” De Bruyne considered. “They have started the way we have started with nine points so they are doing very well and I think they will obviously be a force to be reckoned with this season.
“I hope the trophy ends up on the Blue half of Manchester because that will mean we will have had a great season but I don’t think you can rule out Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool who are doing really well.
“It’s not easy in the Premier League. You have to be there every time – that’s part of playing in England. “
City will be without Sergio Aguero for this first derby of the season after the Argentine was charged with violent conduct by the FA for an incident in the West Ham game last time out.
Kevin admits that it’s a blow to lose a striker of Sergio’s calibre but has backed whoever Pep chooses to replace him to deliver.
He added: “It’s a blow to lose our top scorer but on the other hand a player will come in for him and they will be ready to do a good job.
“I think everybody is ready. We have a big, strong team. This is the way it goes in football – yellow cards, red cards, suspensions. There’s still plenty of games after this one so even if you lose you can make it up later.”