Fernandinho expects derby rivals Manchester United to miss Paul Pogba presence
Fernandinho expects Manchester United to feel the absence of Paul Pogba in this weekend's derby against Manchester City.
The influential Pogba, United's record signing, is out of Sunday's clash at Old Trafford through suspension.
But City midfielder Fernandinho still believes United will prove formidable opposition for Pep Guardiola's side, who are bidding to extend an eight-point lead at the top of the table.
The Brazilian said: "Of course, any team that loses such a good player, they are going to miss him.
"But Manchester United have good players and it doesn't matter who is going to play in his position, they will do a good job. It will be a tough game for both teams."
City go into the game on the back of their first defeat since April. They were beaten 2-1 by Shakhtar Donetsk in an inconsequential Champions League group match in Ukraine on Wednesday.
It was hardly ideal preparation for one of the most intense fixtures in their schedule but Fernandinho thinks the loss could be just the jolt the City team needed to stave off any complacency. City had won their previous 20 games in all competitions, many of them convincingly.
Fernandinho, 32, said: The people around the club, when we start to win a lot of games, they start to say a lot of things and it's not good. Some of us could relax and drop our levels.
"So if you have to choose a moment to lose then this would be the right one.
"Derbies are always special. We need to be 100 per cent ready and focused to do our best and try to win the game."
Victory would give City an 11-point advantage over their chief rivals but Fernandinho insists that would not finalise anything.
He said: "The Premier League is so hard and tough, you can drop points at any time. It will be a little step for us if we win this game, but nothing will be finished. There will still be a long way to go."
Meanwhile, Press Association Sport understands City are considering touring the United States for a second successive pre-season next summer.
And with United also thought to be contemplating a return to the US, that could raise the possibility of another Manchester derby taking place overseas. The two sides met in the International Champions Cup (ICC) in Houston last summer, a year after another attempt to play each other abroad was abandoned because of torrential rain in Beijing.
City were thought likely to play in an ICC tournament in China in 2018 but organisers may hold off on staging such an event in that country until a non-World Cup year.
No plans have yet been made and a final decision on City's programme is not expected to be taken until the new year.