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'Ronaldo not being there is not a big loss' | Keane, Neville and Richards

Manchester United will need to be excellent on the counter-attack in order to topple Manchester City, according to former players on either side of the derby.



'Ronaldo not being there is no...
Soccer

'Ronaldo not being there is not a big loss' | Keane, Neville and Richards

Manchester United will need to be excellent on the counter-attack in order to topple Manchester City, according to former players on either side of the derby.

Gary Neville and Roy Keane enjoyed excellent careers at Manchester United, with a combined 736 caps between them for the Red Devils.

Similarly, Micah Richards took part in a number of Manchester derbies over his 10-year career with Manchester City.

With United travelling to the Etihad on Sunday, March 5th, the three former players joined Sky Sports to preview the match.

The biggest news heading into the derby is that United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of their squad. However, Neville does not believe he will be sorely missed by Ralf Rangnick.

"Manchester United will be playing on the counter-attack," Neville said. "United over the last three or four years, particularly under Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] were a counter-attack team, really comfortable sitting back, punching out through [Marcus] Rashford and others.

"I think that would be the exactly the same today. I actually think Cristiano not being in the team, I could never say it is a positive, but I don't see it as the big loss that I might do in other games.

"I think on the counter-attack United need to be dangerous today, and they are better off with Rashford up front counter-attacking."

Although City are firm favourites to break the long-standing record of the away team winning the historic derby, Keane feels that United will have their chances and need to take them.

"We are talking about Manchester City trying to win a League title," Keane said. "We are obviously going to talk about Man United, and where they are.

"United have to try get a result here to get into the top four. That is how far they are behind the top teams. It is a big day for United, a big day for the players.

"Coming to Man City, they have shown over the last few years that can come and get results here. They would be encouraged with Spurs coming here a few weeks ago, and even Man City against Everton recently not that great.

"So, Man United, for all of their troubles, are more than capable of coming here, no doubt on the counter-attack, and getting a result."

City are currently atop the Premier League table, with a three-point lead over Liverpool heading into the match on Sunday.

However, they have dropped points over the last few weeks, most recently against Tottenham Hotspur in February. Keane feels that United will be inspired by that Spurs performance.

"United will get chances today, that is a guarantee," Keane said. "If you look at Spurs a few weeks ago, they were ruthless. You get those three or four opportunities, you take them.

"What United haven't been recently is clinical. The chances that they have created versus the so-called lesser teams, and the chances they have missed, is unbelievable. They have dropped unbelievably bad points.

"Man United will create chances today. It is about being clinical, and certainly putting the ball in the back of the net."

Richards agreed that, in spite of previous form, the derby is always a highly competitive match.

"Anything can happen with a derby," Richards said. "These Man United players, they don't want City to walk all over them.

"Everyone is talking about Manchester City and how good they have been and how poor Man United have been. This is a day where you can put it right.

"When we were growing, and we weren't the team that we became, coming to Old Trafford or the Etihad is where you could put a marker down. That is what they have done.

"Every time United do come here, they just have that little bit of fire in the belly."

WATCH: The worst celebration ever in the Manchester derby belongs to Roy Keane

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Manchester City Manchester United Micah Richards Roy Keane Sky Sports

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