The team from across town have spent fortunes to get themselves into a position of strength and the title race looks to be going down to the wire, with Roberto Mancini's men returning to pole position on Saturday evening - albeit after dropping two points at Stoke. The United boss accepts the challenge being laid down is a very serious one and appreciates that is almost certain to continue being the case for years to come.
"I think what we've got to get used to, and every United and City fan too, is that there's going to be big games involving the two teams - semi-finals, finals, whatever - for the next decade anyway," Sir Alex affirmed. "The two of us will be at the forefront. But I also think Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham can stabilise themselves and can have great teams in the future."
The manager has praised City for their sustained challenge this season but hopes United's superior knowhow could still prove decisive in the run-in.
"I think experience is important," he stressed. "It doesn't matter who you are, if you've been there before, it helps. It's not absolutely conclusive that it will apply this season though. You've got to admire City, they've done exceptionally well and have been top of the table for a long time. In many ways, they're in the driving seat in the sense that they've got us to come at the Etihad Stadium where they've not lost a game there."