Premier League champions Manchester City will use revenge as their primary motivation when they host Manchester United in the first derby of the season on Sunday, according to defender Aymeric Laporte.
Pep Guardiola’s men were just a win away from the title when they last took on Jose Mourinho’s side, and they strolled into a 2-0 half-time lead through goals from captain Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan.
Despite having little more than pride to play for, United staged a dramatic second half comeback inspired by Paul Pogba, who netted twice in the space of three second half minutes.
Chris Smalling then secured the 3-2 win by converting from Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick, putting City’s title celebrations on hold and forcing them to wait another week to confirm their third championship in seven seasons.
City would go on to amass 100 points and over a century of goals come the climax of a record-breaking 2017-18 campaign, but according to Laporte the loss to their local rivals still wrangles.
“There’s always a feeling of revenge any time you lose against any team,” Laporte told Sky Sports ahead of the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.
“We are always ready to compete and need to take advantage of the good momentum of the team at the moment.
“It’s a very important match for two reasons… because it’s the Manchester derby and also because if we win we will put distance between ourselves and them in the table.”
Victory for City – they have only won two of the last eight meetings in all competitions – will give them a 12-point cushion over United and ensure they go into the international break top of the Premier League.
Laporte made a slow start to his career in Manchester following his January move from Athletic Bilbao, but has now emerged as City’s lucky charm.
The 6-1 win over Southampton means the ex-France Under-21 international is unbeaten in his first 20 Premier League starts; a record for a new player in England’s top division.
“I think it’s a nice record,” the 24-year-old added. “I wasn’t aware until someone told me but obviously it’s exciting for me.
“Breaking records is always nice. Last season as a team we reached 100 points – that was very nice and this year I have this personal record.
“I hope we don’t lose on Sunday or not this derby or the following derby. The goal is always to win and lengthen this record as much as we can.”