Hart: Manchester United and Manchester City are on par

The England international believes Ferguson's and Mancini's sides are level, despite the current leaders topping the table with a six point advantage over their crosstown rivals

England and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart believes that the Premier League champions are on 'par' with their rivals Manchester United, who are looking to win their 20th league title this season.

The 25-year-old has established himself as first choice at the Etihad, and proved his worth in Europe - in particular during Champions League games against Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid.

And the 2010-11 Golden Glove winner believes the two Manchester clubs are now of a very similar standing.

He told the Daily Mail: "I think we are on an even par with United.

"They carry that tradition and that shirt, that red shirt that takes them to a different level sometimes. But I'm sure that over time the blue shirt will be the same.

"I feel that when we play we are never gonna lose. I feel that something will always happen. Maybe it has happened more often with United over the years and so people say it is 'classic United'. But we are beginning to do that too. It just needs two or three players to come good this season and everything will change."

The English champions have had a mixed season, and despite only losing one Premier League game, Manchester City are six points adrift from leaders Manchester United. As well as this, Roberto Mancini's side crashed out of Europe with only two points, finishing bottom of their group.

Hart commented on this, saying: "With the good comes the bad and you have to deal with it. The season has been indifferent. We have had two teams, one in Europe and one in the league.  We know we haven't been great all the time but we know we have that greatness inside us and when it does come it will put us in a very good place.

"I am in a position where so many people say so many nice things and that's great. But sometimes it's inevitable that you will find someone who doesn't agree and will criticise you. I think it actually pays to listen to those who may be saying things that hurt you at the time. At the end of the day, you may learn something.

"When criticism comes what we have to do is be strong internally and pull together and in the same direction. If that's the case then you are OK. This is football. It's how it works. Something else always happens the next day, there is another game a few days later."

Manchester City host Reading on Saturday afternoon, when they hope to close the gap at the top to only three points, with Manchester United set to play on Sunday.