Manchester City and Manchester United could stage another overseas derby next summer, with an appetite at both clubs to meet in the United States as they did last July.
City are considering where they will tour. China had seemed the most likely destination but Pep Guardiola’s preference is for America. José Mourinho is almost certain to take United to the US west coast and base the squad in Los Angeles, as he did last summer.
One stumbling block may be the clubs agreeing on a location to play. That was a problem last summer until it was agreed to stage the game at Houston’s NRG Stadium, which attracted 67,401 fans and ended in a 2-0 victory for United.
More immediate is the derby at Old Trafford on Sunday. Yaya Touré believes that if City win there and open an 11-point lead, the Premier League title race will still not be over. Touré was a member of City’s championship-winning side of 2011-12 and pointed to how they overhauled an eight-point advantage held by United.
“I remember in 2012 when we won the league, United were first and had an eight-point lead, but we came back,” he said. “You have to be careful because the Premier League is such a tough league, you can’t relax. It will be tough in the second half of the season, especially against the sides who are fighting not to be relegated. We have to be aware of that.”
Although Touré thinks United will be concerned about City, the midfielder warned that Mourinho’s team will try to hit them on the break.
“This game can give us a lift for the future,” Touré said. “This year I think when you see United, they are going to be worried about us. That’s going to make them very dangerous on the counterattack and we have to be ready for that. Otherwise we will see the game they played against Arsenal [winning 3-1] a few days ago, so we have to be careful.
“It’s going to be a tough game – a derby is a derby. I don’t have to explain about a derby. It’s about who wants it more.”
City’s 2-1 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk in the final Champions League group game on Wednesday was their first in 227 days as Guardiola fielded a weakened XI.
“We played against a good side,” Touré said of Ukraine’s champions. “On the counterattack, they were very good. So we need to improve. We have young players and they are still learning. It’s not easy for them because the Champions League is a tough league and Shakhtar, they needed to win.
“Let’s see after the derby [the difference between City and United] because in football anything can happen. You just have to understand football and sometimes we can lose. We need to have a big performance on Sunday. It’s going to be difficult because the way you saw Shakhtar play, is the way United will play – counterattack, very fast and very strong. We have to be careful and, of course, we are going to train hard and try to be ready.
“We don’t want to lose. We have to keep this kind of gap on United because now when I see United playing games against big teams, they always wait for a mistake to hit them on the counterattack.”