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Brown: Man Utd must play the perfect game to beat Pep's City
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Mitchell Fretton
Manchester rivals City and United will lock horns on Sunday
Manchester rivals City and United will lock horns on Sunday

Wes Brown believes Manchester United must play the perfect game if they are to overcome fierce rivals Manchester City on Sunday.

The five-time Premier League winner knows what it takes to win at the highest level but the tables have turned since his playing days, with Pep Guardiola's City now dominating English football.

However, as former Red Devils defender Brown is well aware, the favourites did not win every derby even during United's glory days under Sir Alex Ferguson — which suggests Erik ten Hag's men a chance of victory at the Etihad.

Speaking to LiveScore, he said: "This is a game where I think the lads will realise they all have to play well.

"I was thinking about our derbies and for most of them we were always higher than City but we didn't win them all.

"We have to play well, we have to outrun them and we have to be compact as a team.

"It's one of those games where you might get a few opportunities and you have to put them in the back of the net and also hope they have a bad day.

"We are going to be underdogs and at times that can be an advantage. We've just got to give it everything. You can't make mistakes on this one."

Striking gold

Erling Haaland has been a painful thorn in United's side since joining City — scoring five times in four games against them, including a hat-trick in a 6-3 win at the Etihad last term.

But the Red Devils have their own talisman in Rasmus Hojlund, who scored seven goals in six outings before picking up an injury recently.

Brown, 44, sees promise in the young Dane but believes he cannot reach Haaland's level until the rest of Ten Hag's troops improve their productivity.

Wes Brown won 13 major trophies during his 14 seasons at boyhood club Manchester United
Wes Brown won 13 major trophies during his 14 seasons at boyhood club Manchester United

He added: "Haaland has gone into a fantastic City side and made it even better.

"I watch Hojlund every week and he's always in the right spot but he doesn't always get the assists that are needed.

"United have had spells where they've been really good and then they'll have a spell in the same game where they can be really bad.

"When he does get an opportunity, he puts in the back of the net. But to get to Haaland's level, the whole team has to be at a high level."

Leading by example

Brown's boyhood club are still in the running to qualify for the Champions League — sitting sixth in the table — and have the chance to lay down a marker in the top-four race with a statement win against their neighbours.

United skipper Bruno Fernandes will need to lead from the front and Brown insists the Portuguese playmaker remains the right man to wear the armband.

The ex-England international said: "Bruno is one of the most hard-working players on the team.

"The manager decided to make him captain. We've all been frustrated at times, not just with any individual but the team.

"He's got to keep producing. He never puts his head down and we need all the lads to do the same. You just have to keep going.

"Maybe in the future, it might be somebody else [as captain]. But I think when you go through difficult times, the captain's always going to get pointed out."


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