A mauling in Manchester

Updated: 2013-09-24 06:42

By Reuters in Manchester (China Daily)

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City's big derby victory over United delivers message of optimism

Manchester City's 4-1 thumping of champion United on Sunday evoked memories of a similar humiliation it inflicted on its red rival two seasons ago, with Manuel Pellegrini's new style of play adding optimism to its title hopes.

The 6-1 victory at Old Trafford in October 2011 paved the way for City to claim that season's Premier League title on goal difference and, while Sunday's win at Etihad Stadium comes even earlier in the schedule, the message is the same.

Pellegrini said the defeat would be a "very big" psychological blow to his cross-city rivals, while midfielder Samir Nasri went even further.

"It's really special to win because we send a big statement to our rivals that Manchester City is going to be a force," said the Frenchman, who scored the fourth goal.

"Today is a little bit of revenge. Last season everyone was sad because Robin (van Persie) scored a late free kick (to give United a 3-2 win)."

There will be a lot of City fans who never expected to see such another comprehensive demolition of their decorated city rival within such a short time, but captain Vincent Kompany urged them not to get too carried away.

"It's too early to say it's a defining game," he told Sky Sports. "You make a statement over the course of the season. But it would be silly to give away three precious points.

"When we won 6-1 at Old Trafford I said we need to stay humble. It's only three points, but it's a good game to win and it gives the fans something to celebrate over the next few days."

City was simply a class above United as the dynamic Jesus Navas, Nasri and Sergio Aguero ran riot, their pace and ideas more than making up for their lack of physical stature.

Aguero netted twice, with Yaya Toure and Nasri scoring the others as the more attack-minded style Pellegrini promised to instill in the team when he succeeded the sacked Roberto Mancini in the offseason started to show its potential.

A 4-0 hammering of Newcastle United in its opening game of the season had City fans drooling but, ultimately, that was against an even poorer team than Sunday's and Pellegrini's side struggled to create anything similar until now.

A shock 3-2 defeat by Cardiff City and a labored 2-0 win over another promoted side, Hull City, inspired little confidence in a team that shelled out close to 100 million pounds ($160 million) on squad additions in the most recent transfer window.

There were glimmers of evidence a corner had been turned in last Tuesday's 3-1 win at Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League, when all the scoring came in the second half.

Pellegrini said that despite such a devastating display against United, his side was not yet at its peak.

"I will be very happy if we win all the games 4-1 ... but I think we must improve every day," he said.

"We are just starting another style, another way to play, and I hope we will improve every day."

 A mauling in Manchester

Manchester City's Vincent Kompany is hit in the face as he's challenged by Manchester United's David de Gea during their English Premier League match at Etihad Stadium in Manchester on Sunday. Darren Staples / Reuters

(China Daily 09/24/2013 page24)