London: The first shots have been fired in Manchester’s battle for Premier League supremacy, with United midfielder Ander Herrera claiming there is greater onus on City to win the title because of their unprecedented summer spending and failure to win silverware last season.
United reacted to City’s 6-0 trouncing of Watford on Saturday by beating Everton 4-0 at Old Trafford 24 hours later to leave the teams inseparable at the top of the table with the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceded after five matches. United, however, won the Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield last season, with Herrera claiming that means City are in greater need of silverware.
“We won three titles last season and City didn’t win anything,” he said. “They are under pressure. They need titles to keep everyone happy. They are obligated to win titles. We won three last season so they have more obligation than us.
“But you know when you play for Man United winning is an expectation and an obligation but I like that obligation to be honest.” United were hardly shy in the transfer market in the summer, with Mourinho committing an initial pounds 140 million to sign striker Romelu Lukaku, midfielder Nemanja Matic and centre-half Victor Lindelof.
But Herrera believes City’s pounds 215 million splurge on Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Bernardo Silva, Ederson and Danilo is another reason why expectations are far higher on Guardiola’s side. “Man City have spent the biggest amount in the Premier League, so they are the principle contenders for the title,” the Spaniard added.
“We will try to be there as well, we have quality as well, and we will fight for every title. But I think because of the money they have spent they are the favourites.
“We will try to be there but they have spent the biggest money in the league. There is always pressure when you spend a lot but there is also pressure on us because we are the biggest club in England.”
For all the talent going forward in both sides, though, Herrera suggested United hold a trump card with goalkeeper David de Gea. “I respect all the keepers, like Manuel Neuer, Gianluigi Buffon and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but David right now is the number one in the world,” Herrera said of his compatriot.
“In Spanish we say he has got a don — a gift that comes from God. He is one of the few keepers who can give you points. “I think he is in that position now where he intimidates strikers. He makes some unbelievable saves. Even in training we end up laughing at times because we try to score and it is just impossible.”
— The Telegraph Group Limited, London 2017
League Cup(Third round fixtures)
Arsenal vs Doncaster Rovers (III); Chelsea vs Nottingham Forest (II); Everton vs Sunderland (II); Manchester United v Burton Albion (II); West Bromwich Albion vs Manchester City.