Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz has described Saturday’s derby clash with local rivals United as a Cup final.
City have just five games left and are in pole position to win the race for fourth place and secure the club’s first-ever Champions League appearance.
Tottenham are four points behind the ambitious Blues with a game in hand, against third-placed Arsenal on Wednesday night. United, meanwhile, will be battling to stay in the hunt for a fourth straight Premier League title at Eastlands having fallen four points behind league leaders Chelsea with four games left.
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"It’s a big game for everyone," Santa Cruz told Sky Sports News.
"It’s big for them because they’re in the title race and big for us because we’re going for fourth spot.
"We could make a big step if we win the three points. Our fans have high expectations for this game and I’m sure every Blue fan will really love the fact that if we win, we might take them out of the race for the title.
"It’s going to be a great atmosphere and we’re looking forward to it."
Santa Cruz has played a watching brief from the substitutes’ bench in recent weeks with City’s front four of Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Adam Johnson in devastating form.
The Blues have scored 14 goals in their last three games and will be looking to avenge defeat by United in their epic Carling Cup semi-final clash back in January.
City then travel to Arsenal and host Tottenham and Aston Villa before visiting West Ham on the final day.
"There’s five games left and a lot can happen," Santa Cruz added. "People say because of our recent form, fourth place is already secured, but that’s not a fact.
"We have some very hard games coming up and we need to go game by game and this one is a final for us.
"You need to add the fact that it’s a derby, which is massive, and play it as it is. We need to do everything to make sure the three points stay here.
"The team has been working really hard to play well and make it happen so we are happy that we’ve put ourselves in this position."