Phil Foden warned Manchester United he was ready for the derby after excelling yet again in Manchester City’s latest thrashing of Club Brugge.
The England midfielder opened the scoring as City eased to a 4-1 win over the Belgian side at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to move within touching distance of the Champions League last 16.
Coming after a 5-1 win in Bruges, the result took Pep Guardiola’s side above Paris St Germain to top spot in Group A, needing just a point from two games to reach the knockout stages.
Attention now turns to Saturday’s Premier League trip to Old Trafford and, after bouncing back from losses to West Ham and Crystal Palace in the past week, in-form Foden is relishing the encounter.
The 21-year-old said: “We needed to bounce back from previous defeats, so it is going to give us confidence going into the derby.
“We’re ready to play them whenever. It’s going to be a difficult game because we know how hard it is at their stadium with their fans, but we’re feeling confident.”
United were thrashed 5-0 by Liverpool last month but a convincing 3-0 win over Tottenham and a draw at Atalanta in the Champions League have since eased the pressure on their manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Foden said: “They’ve got two good results recently, so they’ll be full of confidence as well. It’s going to be a really challenging game, and I’m looking forward to it.”
City proved too strong for Brugge in an impressive second-half display.
Foden’s 15th-minute strike was immediately cancelled out by a freak own goal from John Stones but Riyad Mahrez restored the lead after the break. Raheem Sterling then added a third and Gabriel Jesus completed the scoring with the last kick of the game. Joao Cancelo provided three assists.
With Paris St Germain being held to a draw at RB Leipzig, City are now in a strong position ahead of their home meeting with the French outfit later this month.
Foden said: “We were a little bit sloppy at times in the first half, but we still controlled the game and created chances. I’m happy we got it together in the second half and played much better.
“We always look to finish top in the group. We have still got another couple of games to finish it off strongly and that’s our aim.”
Foden missed the first month of the season through injury but has since made up for lost time with a series of outstanding displays and his goal on Wednesday was his fifth of the campaign.
Reports have suggested his performances are set to earn him a lucrative new contract.
He said: “I’m enjoying scoring, it’s good for the confidence, but I know how strong the team is and how many quality players we have, so it’s down to who the manager chooses.
“I’m just going to keep training hard and hopefully get on the team sheet.
“I’m not sure what’s happening with the contract right now, but I’m focused on playing my best for the team and performing on the pitch.”