Manchester United defender Patrice Evra believes the Red Devils’ decision to focus on themselves, rather than rivals City, has been the bedrock of their title bid.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s side missed out on the Premier League crown on goal difference last year, but host the Citizens with a 15-point cushion on Monday night.
And French left-back Evra admits that United were too preoccupied by their 'noisy neighbours' last season, but have found success since they started believing in themselves again.
“This year we have focused more on ourselves whereas last year we were more worried about City,” Evra told the Times of India.
“There was too much focus on what they were going to do in their next game. I’ve played for Manchester United for seven years now and that’s not right.
“We were the team looking at another team and that is no good – that is not Manchester United.
“But this year it has been about us. We had to believe that by having a good season, we will become the champions. Hopefully it is going to happen.”
Evra also warned his team-mates not to relent in their pursuit of a 20th title, and believes they must retain a positive attitude with the spectre of last season’s late collapse still lingering.
“All I am thinking about is winning games – that’s the way it has to be,” the France international continued.
“I am really happy with what we are doing in the league and of course nobody forgets the big disappointment of losing the title last season.
“But it’s really important that we just keep going because the league is not finished yet. We have a big lead but nothing is done yet.
“So we just have to take it game by game and aim to win every match. That’s the right attitude to have.
“In every game this season we have had the right attitude. That’s why I think the fans and the players are very happy this year because we really want to show we are champions. We have to keep going that way.”