Jaap Stam.

Stam previews the Manchester derby

Friday 04 March 2022 11:00

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has provided his view on Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

The Treble-winner is a special guest on UTD Podcast, with the first episode due to be aired on Monday, and was also asked what he expects from the game with City and how the fixture was viewed during his time at the club between 1998 and 2001.

It was clear that the 49-year-old believes the overall picture is far more important than any one-off game but appreciates the fact that Sunday's clash is huge for the supporters because of the local rivalry.

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"At the time, the whole situation was different, of course, with City from where they are now," explained our former defender. "City, at that time. were like, yeah, a team in the league and, of course, there was rivalry between the two of us.

"Who was strongest in the city of Manchester? Everyone knows who that was. At that time, without a doubt, it was United. I still think they can be but the only thing is City have come from far away and been growing, been developing and playing a certain way, with quality players and a certain manager with his philosophy. They're on top of the league, at the moment, for several seasons now.

"You can never guarantee not winning [the game, despite the table], we've seen with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] when we won against City," he added. "Of course, it's good for the club, the manager, the players and the fans to win this game. Especially for the fans, it's very important. 

"The only thing is and I find it very important winning this game but also, if you win this game, you also have to make sure you're winning all the other games as well. Football is not about one game, it's being consistent throughout the whole season. At the end of the day, winning that cup is what the club needs to aim at and what we need to take as our priority. That's not meaning we can lose on the weekend against City. No, the rivalry is always there and you have to always make sure you beat that team."

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Stam felt the rivalry with Liverpool was certainly greater during his time at United, with Arsenal also competing for the top honours at that time.

"Against City, Liverpool was a different Liverpool at that time but higher rated than City and the rivalry was there because, I think, both teams were competing for the highest prizes," explained the Dutchman.

"United and Liverpool, together with Arsenal. City wasn't City [now], they were still there but a little bit up and down and finding their stride and where to go. I think sometimes with relegation as well. When we played and prepared for Liverpool, it was a different feeling, at least for myself, than when we needed to play City."

Look out for episode one of the must-see UTD Podcast with Jaap Stam on Monday.