Manchester City boss Mancini says Ferguson is a 'teacher'

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has said he considers Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson a "teacher" as he prepares for Sunday's derby match.

The top two in the Premier League face each other at Old Trafford, with Mancini seeking a first league victory over Ferguson's side.

"I can say thank you to him because I have big respect for him - he won everything for 25 years," Mancini said.

"He is a teacher and I learn from him."

The Italian believes all aspiring managers should look up to Ferguson.

"He wants to continue to win and that's important for me and all young managers," Mancini added.

"He's 69, and after 69 years he is there every day concentrating and I think it's difficult at that age to have the same strength every day, want to win every game, want to work every day - it's not easy after 50 years because he started very young.

"I hope I can do the same but it won't be easy."

Since taking charge of City in December 2009, Mancini's side have failed to beat United in the Premier League but have secured wins in the Carling Cup and FA Cup, and Mancini is hoping those experiences can help his players this weekend.

"We have improved a lot in the last year but we have to continue to work," he said.

"I think that if we leave Old Trafford with a point that is good for us but that's not our mentality and it's the same for United.

"Any time City or United play, they want to win every game. It's very important because derbies usually are different from other games, but in this case it will be very different because the first time after a long time we can go there on top."

Two points separate the sides in the table so a win for United would allow them to leapfrog their local rivals, but Ferguson has been unwilling to overplay the importance of the fixture.

"This game could be significant at the end of the season," he conceded. "It is a six-pointer and it will make a difference to whichever team wins it.

"But it is early doors and you can recover.

"City have done fantastically well and if they had not thrown a two-goal lead away at Fulham they would have been top of the league with a 100% record."

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