• Dutchman chose United over city rivals in the summer
• United 'can make a huge step forward' with victory
Robin van Persie does not expect a hostile reception from Manchester City fans during Sunday's derby despite spurning them for Manchester United, with the Dutchman declaring he is "having the time of his life" at the 19-time champions.
Van Persie has scored 13 times in all competitions since his £24m summer move from Arsenal after Roberto Mancini, the City manager, had identified him at the start of the window as his prime target.
But Van Persie chose United and, asked if he expected a hot reception from City supporters at the Etihad Stadium, he told MUTV: "Not really. I made my mind up very quickly and I am coming into work with a big smile on my face every day. It is not really work, it is my hobby. I love football but everyone has been so nice to me and I have been having the time of my life here.
"So I don't regret that, but of course in a derby you have lots of people involved – fans and players – everyone is really committed and wants their team to win and we will do all we can to win this game."
United lead City by three points and Van Persie said of his first Mancunian derby: "Yeah, it's a big one straight away and I am looking forward to it because it's No1 versus No2 at the moment and hopefully we can stretch it [United's advantage].
"We are having a good run. We have won all of the last eight games apart from the one at Norwich. It's good – it could be better but it's not bad when you look at the results of the other teams who are dropping points. This Sunday is a big game. Everyone is looking at it and is curious about what will happen.
"The Premier League over the last couple of years has been exciting, lots of big scorers, peculiar scores, so we will see what happens this time."
City won the corresponding fixture 1-0 in late April in what was a pivotal result in their taking the title for the first time since 1968. City also defeated United 6-1 in last season's opening derby and, asked if he was conscious of what the fixture means, Van Persie said: "I know how it is. Obviously in the past I had the north London derby against Spurs and other derbies in London but this is two Manchester teams in one city – one is called United and the other is called City and that's it. They are the only teams, so it is the only derby and the biggest derby. I know what it means, we know what it means and we are looking forward to it.
"If you look at the facts, we are three points ahead of them, which is good after 15 games in the league. But we do want to stretch that and keep our run going and it is a game on its own. It is not a game when you know what will happen – anything can happen but that's the case with us every week. We have to work on that, make ourselves more solid and maybe have an easy game once in a while but I'm sure that will not happen this Sunday.
"Even if we win, it will be a tough game for both sides. It's a derby, commitment will be very high, so it will be interesting. It is not a decider to win the league yet but we can make a huge step forward."