Roberto Mancini hopes Manchester City has earned more respect from Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of the derby clash between the title rivals next weekend.

City's Italian manager was delighted with the stylish way his team recorded a 4-1 victory over Aston Villa at Eastlands on Saturday to move ahead of United into first place in the English Premier League.

The win sets up an intriguing match-up at Old Trafford next weekend as Mancini's men try to cling onto top spot.

For all the recent controversy that has shrouded City following the much-publicised dispute between Mancini and Argentina forward Carlos Tevez, the Italian claims his team is playing the most impressive football of his reign and he believes Ferguson should acknowledge that commitment to attack.

“We started the season very well but we knew this would be a hard week because we play Aston Villa, we play Villarreal (on Tuesday) which is a crucial game in the Champions League for us,” said Mancini when asked if his team had been distracted by off-field matters.

“So our minds are very busy. Our confidence is high because we started the season well and won a lot of games, but we need to improve.

“Sir Alex Ferguson has more experience than me. He knows he has a fantastic team in his hands and he has respect for every team he plays against but I hope we are earning more respect.”

“I think Mario is always happy,” Mancini said when asked if his countryman had finally settled in Manchester after a turbulent time in English football. — AFP

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