Erik ten Hag will aim to accomplish something no Manchester United boss has done since Alex Ferguson when he travels to Manchester City on Sunday for a game he is looking forward to.
Ten Hag has led United to four consecutive Premier League victories after a shaky start at Old Trafford.
But, in order to continue that record, he must halt a string of poor outcomes for United managers in their first Manchester derbies.
Ferguson won the first such match in March 1987, but each of his successors – David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Ralf Rangnick – have lost their league derby starts.
Only Chelsea and Liverpool (both 18) have won more Premier League games versus United than their neighbours (17), who have won their last three encounters.
Ten Hag, on the other hand, is loving the task, as he told reporters on Friday:
“I played many derbies. I know what they are, what rivals are doing to each other.
“I know it’s the most important game here in the Manchester area for the fans. It excites me. I want to be involved in these games.
“It’s a good fight that gives so much energy. You do everything to win that game.”
Ten Hag is adamant that he would concentrate on the strengths of his own team despite the fact that City has won their last seven home league games, scoring at least three goals in each of them.
“The approach is for us to look to ourselves,” he said.
“The approach at Man United is we want to win every game, and that message I’ve already told several times here. For Sunday, it’s nothing else.
“We have to perform our best; with our way of playing, our rules, our principles, we have to do our best.
“We have made a good game plan, then it’s about execution. We have to do it. We want to get the result, and we know if we want to get the result, we have to do it 100 per cent well.”
The City sensation Erling Haaland, who has scored a hat-trick in each of his last two home league games, was another something that Ten Hag was careful not to spend too much time worrying about. Three consecutive home trebles have never been scored by a Premier League player.
“We don’t play against Haaland; we play against Man City,” Ten Hag added. “They have a team of more than 11 players, but we have also.
“We are confident of our capabilities, and if we act as a team, in and out of possession, then we can beat our opponents. That is the belief we have to take with us when we start the game.”