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The Italian finds his team sitting top of the Premier League head of Sunday's clash with second placed United, but found time to praise the highly-decorated Scottish manager

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has praised Manchester United's legendary boss Sir Alex Ferguson and admitted that he sees him as a "teacher".

City, who currently lead the Premier League, face their arch cross-town rivals on Sunday with Mancini seeking a first league victory over Ferguson’s charges.

The Italian has said he admires what his managerial counterpart has done for the Red Devils in his illustrious career, which has stretched over a quarter of a century.

"He is a teacher and I learn from him," Mancini told reporters ahead of Sunday’s clash.

"I can say thank you to him because I have big respect for him - he won everything for 25 years.

"He wants to continue to win and that's important for me and all young managers.

"He's 69, and after 69 years he is there every day concentrating and I think it's difficult at that age to have the same strength every day, want to win every game, want to work every day - it's not easy after 50 years because he started very young.

"I hope I can do the same but it won't be easy."

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