Man City inadvertently helped Man Utd become the biggest force in football

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Manchester City's runaway derby victory over rivals Manchester United helped 'clear the minds' of their players ahead of 13 top flight titles from the next 23 seasons.

Having finished 11th in the previous Division One season, United lost 5-1 at Maine Road to newly promoted City following a David Oldfield brace and strikes from Trevor Morley, Ian Bishop and Andy Hinchcliffe – who mocked United fans with his celebration.

Following a positive start to the fixture, the players were taken off the playing surface due to crowd confusion – a period in which the home side settled and came out firing.

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With City looking for their first win over United in almost a decade, City star Paul Lake one described how a fan begged him to help City win before the fixture.

Among the United side, who would go on to finish 11th in the table, was top scorer Mark Hughes, who believes it was a turning point for the manager, players and club in general.

"It was tough to take," he told Sky Sports of the damaging result. "What we took out of it was obviously huge disappointment that so many people were embarrassed and unhappy with the level of performance we were able to put in.

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"We remembered Andy Hinchcliffe with his five fingers to the crowd and that stuck with us for a long time."

Adding of what it meant down the line: "The key for anybody putting the red shirt of Manchester United on was that you had a responsibility to the shirt to the club and the history of the club.

"That game probably cleared the minds of a lot of us in terms of 'listen, we've got to be a hell of a lot better than we were on that day if we want to stick around' for what we all thought was ahead of us."

With Sir Alex Ferguson going on to ride out the storm, he led the club to 13 top flight titles from the next 23 seasons having set the tone with many players who featured in that defeat.

Although City would go on to finish fifth in each of the next two seasons, Hinchcliffe admits they the promising young side were not able to kick on as expected.

He said: "That's probably the most disappointing thing because everything had kind of been ramped up over the years in terms of our success as a youth team to getting promoted and beating United, we thought that was the start of it getting even better.

"But that's as good as it got."

With Ferguson going on to retire after a final Premier League title in 2012/13, City have won five of the last nine seasons including four of the last five.

United, on the other hand, are now nine full seasons from their last Premier League title, with the two sides going head-to-head for the first time this season at the Etihad this afternoon.


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