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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Rooney not worried by 'mid-table' City threat

Wayne Rooney has poured scorn on speculation that Manchester City can overtake United as the top club in the league and says he will start worrying about his ciity rivals when they are not lingering in mid-table.

The United striker, who has not been in the best form recently, hopes the Manchester derby on Sunday will underline their status as the 'kings of Manchester' despite City's troughs of money.

United lost both Manchester derbies last season but Rooney admits they cannot afford to lose again as they sit eight points behind Liverpool and Chelsea.

"Sunday is a massive game. Yes, we owe the fans a derby win even though we did win two trophies last season," said Rooney. "Losing both games was extremely disappointing. It is a massive game for the players, the fans and the club - especially after what has happened at City with the takeover.

"It will be nice to show them who are the kings of Manchester. I missed both derbies last season and that was really frustrating having to watch when you cannot do anything about it. I am looking forward to Sunday. It doesn't irritate us that City are getting all this publicity. If they were winning trophies it would irritate me but while they are still lingering in mid-table I am not really too bothered about it.

"It is different to any other game. The atmosphere at City is a really good one. The players always get up for it. Our fans will push us on. If we can win, and I am sure we can, it will be a great result for us. We cannot afford not to win, especially if Liverpool and Chelsea win their games. We have to keep winning all the games and I am sure we will catch them up. Our away form hasn't been great but I am not too sure why that is.

"But we are still not too far away from Liverpool and Chelsea and that is the main thing for us. We normally finish the season strongly and hopefully we can do that again."

Ryan Giggs also doubts whether he will be around to view City as serious rivals to United's dominance of the English game.

''With the money they are talking about, you think about City bringing in the best players in the world,'' reflected Giggs. ''But I don't know whether the rivalry will develop into one between sides who win the biggest trophies because those players still need to gel.

''I know Chelsea did it but they were already a top-three team. City are not top six really. If they are going to challenge the big four I would imagine it will take a bit of time.''

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Mark Hughes believes the club is now on the radar of the world's best players after Kaka indicated he would like to play in England at some stage in his career.

AC Milan's Brazilian star has apparently been speaking to his fellow countrymen Robinho - a £32.5million summer signing from Real Madrid - and Elano about life at Eastlands.

While Hughes was coy about the link to the playmaker, there is no denying City have the financial muscle to compete at the highest level following the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group.

Hughes said: ''It is always interesting when top players talk about situations at people's clubs. But you will have to wait and see what happens.

''It is exciting times here and we will start the process of recruiting in January. Every top player in the world at some point in their career would like to play in the Premier League.

''I think that is a given as it is the strongest league in the world at the moment and we are obviously an option now.

''Maybe three months or so ago top players would not consider coming to Manchester City because of our circumstances and maybe the fact our means are not as great as they are now.''

Hughes added: ''People will talk about us being able to attract top players and we have the resources to do that. What I am looking is to do is to add to the quality already here.

''It is about getting a balance and the make-up of the team and the squad correct. If we can do that we can only get better.

''We are trying to build a club that will sustain success in the future. That takes time but we are working to that end.''

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