David Silva says Manchester City finally get respect from Manchester United after consistently finishing ahead of their rivals since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson five years ago.
City welcome United to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday knowing a victory will move them 12 points clear of the Red Devils in the table.
Pep Guardiola’s side also finished a huge 19 points ahead of their rivals last season as they romped to the Premier League title.
That continued City’s impressive record of finishing ahead of United in every season since Ferguson retired in 2013 after securing the Red Devils’ 20th league title.
Silva feels that highlights his side’s new-found superiority in Manchester – and has pinpointed the moment fortunes began to turn in City’s favour.
“The derby has changed since my time here. A key turning point was the 6-1 at their place [in 2011] – I think things have changed since then.
“When they come to play us here or anywhere, they probably have higher respect for us than before.
“The respect is always there, no matter who you are playing, but maybe now, the way in which City are viewed by United has changed and maybe we have got the upper hand.”
That famous 6-1 victory at Old Trafford was followed up by a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium the following April as City famously pipped their rivals on the final day of the season to claim their first title in 44 years.
Captain Vincent Kompany scored the only goal that day, but Silva still feels the win at Old Trafford was more significant.
“Vinny’s goal was really important,” Silva added. “That game was key in that we went on to win the title. But the 6-1, for the fact that it was at Old Trafford, too, was probably even more important. That was one of those games that goes down in history.”
Despite City’s recent dominance and United’s apparent decline, Silva insists the Manchester derby remains one of the biggest games in world football, maybe even on a par with El Clasico.
“I can’t make a direct comparison because I have never played for Barca or Real, so haven’t played in a Clasico,” Silva added. “But there is a huge impact from this game, whether you do badly or well, whatever the result of the derby, it has a massive impact.
“United are a little bit off pace maybe, but they have always had a great side and they still have a great team now and I’m sure that, come the end of the season, they won’t be too far away.
“But there are lots of important games. You look at the teams who are flying high, like Chelsea and Liverpool, so games involving them are important. You have Arsenal and Spurs too, so that is what is special about the Premier League, there are lots of top games involved.”