Paul Parker described the difference between the two Manchester clubs as being “like the Grand Canyon” ahead of Sunday’s derby.
The much-decorated full-back, who won two Premier League titles and an FA C0up at Old Trafford, reckons any honest United supporter would “take anything from the game.”
Speaking on The Betfred Football Show, Parker said the Manchester Derby means “so much to everyone in the city” – and is much more important than the derbies he played in down in London.
Before he took a walk down memory lane to the 1993 fixture between the big two at Maine Road, Parker said: “Sunday’s game really, really matters.”
Back in ’93, United were losing 2-0 at the break and Sir Alex Ferguson left the team-talk to his assistant Brian Kidd – and it must have worked, for United dominated the second half, with an Eric Cantona brace and late Roy Keane winner clinching the three points.
Parker remembers seeing City players and supporters celebrating in the tunnel at half-time, pointing out that football has a “funny way of throwing egg in your face”.
He added: “We could have got five or six in that game.”
The 57-year-old, who played 105 games for United, was asked what he would do if he was the Reds boss and giving a team-talk ten minutes before kick-off.
Without naming names, he said he would focus on key individuals, asking them to be disciplined and show application – and pointedly not throw their arms in the air and try to belittle teammates to look good in front of the fans.
Parker believes City will win on Sunday and kick on in their bid to retain the title.
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“United are massive underdogs,” he said. “I don’t go for stats but performances, and Manchester United players will be a little bit worried.
“They will hope they can poke the bear, score and then survive the rest.”
Parker described the title race as “still on”, believing Liverpool look “unbeatable”. Although, as a renowned international full-back himself, he interestingly said that Trent Alexander-Arnold is Liverpool’s weak link, with teams targeting him because his “whole focus is getting forward”.
The West Ham-born legend believes Liverpool will win by two or three goals to-nil at Anfield, and forecasts that if Brentford lose to Norwich in the Premier League relegation clash on Saturday it would “destroy” the Bees.
Parker also goes for away wins for Southampton and Chelsea at Villa and Burnley, with Newcastle and Wolves recording home wins over Brighton and Palace.
He also predicts an Arsenal win at Watford, and is on the fence over Monday’s game, forecasting a draw between Spurs and Everton.
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