Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on Manchester United to take back control of the city.
The tame Red Devils were beaten comfortably on Wednesday by fierce rivals Manchester City as the latter flew back to the top of the Premier League.
United have failed to win England’s top flight since 2012 - when Sir Alex Ferguson left the club - and City have since surged to power.
David Moyes - Ferguson’s successor - famously tipped United to emulate their rivals, to poor reception.
AS IT HAPPENED: Manchester United v Manchester City
And Solskjaer, now permanently at the helm, has called on his charges to reverse the balance of power in Manchester.
“We got a reaction and in the end we were beaten by a better team,” he said.
“We had a go, had efforts, didn’t hit the target too many times but you could see the work-rate and everything was there. It just wasn’t good enough.
“City have set the standard the last couple of seasons and living in Manchester I don’t think we can be happy with that and it’s up to us to close that gap and in the end overtake them, that’s the challenge that you have at this club.”
The ordinarily reliable David de Gea has come under fire in recent weeks for a series of high-profile errors, the worst against Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
He was suspect for City’s opener on Wednesday and almost certainly should have kept out Leroy Sane, who sealed the three points.
But the manager has backed the Spaniard - who has regularly been linked with a move to Real Madrid.
Solskjaer added: “I think he made some terrific saves as well today.
“It’s every day work for everyone.
“David has high standards and is working really hard to improve, so at times like this we have to stick together, batten down the hatches, make sure we don’t do anything rash, anything stupid and come back fighting on Sunday.”
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