London (AFP) – Jesse Lingard reckons the best way for Manchester United to stop Manchester City wrapping up the Premier League title with a derby day victory on Saturday is to treat the match like any other.
City currently lead second-placed United by the huge margin of 16 points yet they will go into the game on the back of a stunning 3-0 loss to Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
A win for Pep Guardiola’s side over local rivals United would see them crowned champions of England in front of their own fans but Lingard said the Etihad held no fears for his side.
“We have played there before and performed and did well, so I don’t see why we can’t do it again,” the United midfielder told Sky Sports on Thursday.
“The lads’ heads have to be right and we have to be 100 percent focused on our job and get the three points because that’s what we are playing for.”
Asked if there was more riding on this match given City could take the title, Lingard said: “You have to see it as just a game because if you let other things come into play it might affect your performance, so you have to go into it like any other game.
“You have the lads beside you giving 100 percent and as long as we perform on the day we can get the three points.”
City enjoyed a 2-1 win in an Old Trafford derby in December but they have not beaten United at the Etihad since November 2014.
Last season, City were held to a goalless draw at home to United, while the corresponding 2015/16 fixture saw the visitors win 1-0 thanks to Marcus Rashford.
“The team played brilliantly that game and we deserved to win,” Rashford said. “That feeling going away to a big team is something special.
“To do it together as a team, you hold it with you and it gives you the strength and motivation to continue doing it.”