Manchester United F.C. are closer to rediscovering their best form than reports would suggest, manager David Moyes said on Monday ahead of their Premier League clash with rivals Manchester City F.C.
Moyes's team host City on Tuesday, with most making the title-chasing visitors favourites for the Manchester derby at Old Trafford for the first time.
The Scotsman has endured a difficult first season in charge at United but argues his team are not far off a return to trophy-winning ways despite languishing in seventh place in the league, 12 points behind City having played two games more.
"We're not as far away as many people would have us and I've no doubt it'll improve," Moyes told a news conference.
"We want to show we're still in there fighting."
"In the last couple of games, a lot of the players have stepped up to the plate and performed. But I'm not surprised by that at all - that's what they're capable of and I've been saying that all year.
"We have a good squad with good players - we maybe haven't played as well as we should have, but I think we have those capabilities within the squad."
United have enjoyed a resurgence in the last week, beating Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus 3-0 at home to qualify for the last eight of the Champions League and enjoying a comfortable 2-0 win at West Ham United in the league on Saturday, to ease the pressure on beleaguered Moyes.
However, it is in the games against the Premier League's top four teams that Moyes has endured his most torrid time, with a resounding 3-0 defeat at league leaders Chelsea, a humiliating 3-0 home loss to bitter rivals Liverpool and a 4-1 thrashing in the reverse fixture with City earlier in the season.
"We want to perform better in the bigger games than we have done, I have no doubt about that," Moyes said.
"But we don't go into it any differently - we want to win them all.
"We go out to win every game - not just the derby. Its no different. Obviously it means a lot more to the supporters and the city to win a derby game, but we go into every game with the same intention to win."
United will have to cope without suspended captain Nemanja Vidic and injured defenders Chris Smalling and Johnny Evans for City's visit, with Moyes hopeful he can recall Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, who