Jose Mourinho has branded Manchester City “untouchable” ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-awaited derby showdown.
City won the title from United last season by a record-breaking 19-point margin with a record total of 100 points, and top the Premier League table going into the derby, with the Reds trailing by nine points.
The champions have faced damaging allegations this week that they artificially inflated sponsorship deals in a bid to comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
Mourinho, asked about the FFP allegations facing City, said: “It’s difficult for me to answer because I focus on my job.
“I focus on the four lines, focus on football, so if you want to speak about their football potential we can speak, and football potential starts with investment.
“After that, of course, there is a quality of the work, of the organisation, I think that is untouchable.
“Even if the good results were not in our pockets, the performances were there, the positive attitude was there, so we are going to try but City are a very powerful team.
“If we draw the gap is still nine points, if we lose it’s 12, so I don’t think that is the way to look at the match.
“We have to just think about the match, is difficult enough as an isolated event, if you want to put that match into the context of where we are and where we can be.
“I want to play it as an isolated match, a difficult match against a difficult team, but they will also think it’s a difficult match for them.”
Romelu Lukaku has missed United’s last two games, but trained today and will be assessed tomorrow ahead of Sunday.
“Lukaku is training with the team this morning,” said Mourinho.