Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has explained why their rivalry with Manchester United means so much to his teammates, and claimed that Sunday's hosts are beginning to see the Citizens as their biggest game of the season, rather than their clashes with Liverpool of times gone by.
Pep Guardiola's men head into this weekend's fixture at Old Trafford eight points clear of their fellow north-west giants at the top of the Premier League.
This year marks the Belgian centre-back's involvement in the cross-city skirmishes for almost a decade, after making the around £7.5m switch from German side Hamburg back in the summer of 2008.
Since that day Komany has tasted victory over United nine times, and has admitted the clash is bigger than any other throughout the term, even within the red half of Manchester.
"Not just to me but to every player it means more than any other game", the 31-year-old told Manchester City's official website when asked about the importance of the derby.
"I'm very honest about it. I do think in football people like to downplay the derbies, say it's just another game, just another three points, but in reality it's so much more than that.
"I think United have always been looking towards Liverpool. It's not shifting, but it's something where, at this moment in time, we will be the team that they want to beat more than any other."
The meeting between both City and United is one of the most highly anticipated clashes in recent memory, and Kompany has admitted that those feelings have also filtered through to the squad, but knows it will be a tough test.
"I think the derby at Old Trafford is something we are all anticipating and all want to be involved in", the defender added. "United have enough quality in their team to decide to go whichever way.
Paul Scholes on the Manchester derby:— Man Utd Channel (@ManUtdChannel) December 5, 2017
"It's a big game but it's not that big. Don't know what all the fuss is about. United will always be the number one club in Manchester. The Hacienda is probably still second and it's been shut 20 years". pic.twitter.com/ghHyfZF2KB
"They're able to be really solid defensively, but equally they are able to play offensive football and score a lot of goals.
"That's the way we are doing things at the moment. They can choose whichever approach they want, they still have a good enough team to mix it up."
Both outfits will be heading into the tie in red hot form, with City still unbeaten domestically, despite tasting their first loss of the campaign during their 2-1 Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, and United currently enjoying a four-game winning streak in the English top-flight.
However, even though the Citizens are in danger of being crowned runaway winners, Kompany believes his side need tangible results in order to claim his side as one of the best the league has ever seen.
"It's been the best spell, but we need silverware", the Belgian added.
"We need to win trophies consistently and show everybody this is the best team, but we're not there yet."