Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has claimed that his side are getting closer to Manchester United, but concedes the experience and success of their rivals is the major remaining difference.
The Etihad outfit travel to Old Trafford at the weekend for the Barclays Premier League's first Manchester derby of the season, with City currently sitting top of the table.
Nonetheless, the Italian has played down the significance of his side's current position, with so much of the season left to play.
Speaking at the North West Football Writers Awards Dinner, Mancini said: “This moment is a great moment for us. We are on the top of the table but unfortunately we’re missing another 30 games until the end [of the season].
“I do not think it always easy to play well, but when you want to try and win a title it is important you are starting as good. I think we started [the season] very well, but the way is very long.
“I think we are very close [to Manchester United], but the difference is that they have won a lot of trophies for many years," Mancini continued. "They are used to always playing for the top of the league, for Champions League, and at this moment the difference is this.
“Against Manchester United is a derby, it is a different game for everyone, always. We go there on the top, but we know it will be a very hard game.”