Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United are heading into the derby this weekend as a more developed side than the one who lost against City in November.
Man United were playing well at the Etihad but Chris Smalling‘s red card meant they were fighting against it from that point onwards and United’s efforts ultimately ended in vain as the game finished 1-0 to City.
However, United head into the derby this weekend in great form having won their previous five Premier League games and van Gaal is confident his team have evolved and improved since November.
“It was another Manchester United [last November], I believe,” van Gaal said after the Aston Villa game.
“That was more in the start of the process and now we are in the end of the process.
“Now we have developed the team. I think also the confidence of our players is very high at the moment but also our performances show that, so it’s not the same Manchester United.”
Even in November, United were actually the better team at the Etihad, in spite of Smalling’s red card, but there is certainly far more confidence among fans heading into this derby game.
Liverpool away is the toughest match of the season yet United put in their most dominant performance, so a home game against a City side going through indifferent form is not as daunting a prospect.
That being said, you can’t underestimate the intensity of a derby and form usually counts for nothing as Liverpool showed at Anfield but after a few years of dreading the derby knowing City were the better side, this game has an altogether different feel about it leading up to kick-off.
United know they have what it takes to come away with three points and if they can execute a game plan as well as they did at Anfield, City will struggle to get into the game.