Jose Mourinho insists his motivation for the Manchester derby is not to deny their rivals the Premier League title, but to help Manchester United finish second.
Defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday evening, live on Sky Sports Premier League, would make Pep Guardiola’s side champions.
Mourinho said he is “not a pundit” when asked if Liverpool’s 3-0 win over City in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday would have an impact on his side’s approach to the game.
The United manager also believes he has the attacking players to hurt City, though, saying his side are intent on guaranteeing they end the season best of the rest in the Premier League.
“My motivation is to finish second,” said Mourinho. “I still have the motivation of finishing top four, mathematically it is not done, it is a good distance but not done so that’s the first objective but after that I don’t hide.
“In practical terms and for next season to finish second, third or fourth is exactly the same, you don’t win the title but qualify for the Champions League group stage.
“But I prefer to finish third and fourth and second and first, and we have been second for many, many months.
“It is our objective to fight for that and for that we need points. My objective for tomorrow is try to have points to finish second.”
Mourinho said the disparity between City and United will be evident by the points difference between the sides at the end of the season.
“It is easy to go to books and understand we would normally be in the fight for the title,” he said. “We are not because City has a very good number of points that makes it very difficult.”
The Portuguese was asked if Alexis Sanchez’s decision to sign for United over rivals City in January was proof they still have a bigger pulling power in terms of recruitment.
He said: “Do you know that? I don’t know if they were interested or not. I have no idea.”