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The former Netherlands goalkeeper explained that his old club have the experience under Sir Alex Ferguson to see off Roberto Mancini's side despite recently dropping points


Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar believes the Red Devils will retain the Premier League title and resist pressure from Manchester City ahead of the derby.

Defeat for United away at the Etihad Stadium will put City top of the table on goal difference, with just two matches remaining.

The former Netherlands goalkeeper finished his playing career at Old Trafford at the end of last season, and in an interview, on the official Premier League website, he predicted: "I think it’s going to be all United - they can win or draw.

"I played six years at United and my heart is still Red. I hope they get the right result and retain the title.

"I’ve got confidence in all the players, especially with the experience they have with Rio [Ferdinand], Wayne [Rooney], [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes, and [Patrice] Evra.”

The Red Devils failed to seal victory with just minutes remaining at Old Trafford against Everton last weekend in a spectacular 4-4 draw, but Van der Sar has dismissed any chances of a lasting detrimental effect heading into the rival clash.

He added: "I don’t think it was a sign of pressure. The come-back came with seven minutes to go and two goals in front. It can happen in football.

"United were trailing City for a long time during the season, and twists and turns are normal in the Premier League. Hopefully it will not cost them.

"Sir Alex Ferguson has been their manager for 26 years and won the title 13 times so far, so the wealth of experience is on United’s side.

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"But you can’t diminish the desire and hunger that City have. They came of age last year with winning the FA Cup, and now they compete for the title."

United dropping points meant that City’s title bid was back in their own hands, and Van der Sar acknowledged that Roberto Mancini’s men will be heartened by the slip-up.

The Champions League winner continued: "City will be encouraged by the result at Old Trafford. It will be new belief for them. They thought they were out of the race but they’re right back in it.

"Of course Mancini said they didn’t watch the game, but at this time of year you focus on everything."