Manuel Pellegrini has signalled Manchester City's intent to win Sunday's "six- point" derby against Manchester United by claiming his players are mentally stronger than David Moyes's champions.
City relinquished the title to United last season and their former manager, Roberto Mancini, his captain, Vincent Kompany, and Joe Hart, the goalkeeper, stated that United had the psychological edge.
Pellegrini says his squad now have a winning mentality. "I don't know what happened in the past but I know that our mentality at the moment is very strong. So strong but more strong than Manchester United," the new manager said.
City have only seven points from their opening four games, after they lost at Cardiff City and were unconvincing when defeating Hull City and drawing at Stoke City. "I don't agree that it is the first [big] match. I think that every match in the Premier League is not easy," Pellegrini claimed.
"A derby has a lot of different things but it is not the first important match we have played. Every match is important. I think the players have prepared every day to try to think as a big team and play as a big team.
"It is a match of six points," he said. "It is very important to win, [against] one of the most important teams. It is more important to win than not to lose. Of course, if you cannot win it is better not to lose but we will try to win from the beginning."
When in charge of Everton, Moyes regularly recorded wins over City but Pellegrini dismissed their importance. He pointed out his Villarreal side defeated Everton 4-2 on aggregate to knock the club out of the Champions League in September 2005. "I know he had good results against Manchester City when he managed Everton," said the Chilean. "I had also had a good record against Everton when he was manager.
"Every match we win is confidence for me, for the club, for the players and winning the derby is very important. But it is not the last match of the season."