By James McManus

Manchester City defender Kolo Toure is of the belief that the derby game against local rivals Manchester United is now the biggest fixture in the Premier League calendar.

With Roberto Mancini’s side sure to relinquish their league crown over the coming weeks after falling 15 points behind United in the title race this season, the fixture won’t retain the same significance as previous clashes between the two.

However, Toure still feels that the game is comfortably the largest in English football at the moment, similar to the games between Arsenal and the Red Devils when they were battling for top-flight supremacy at the turn of the century when the Ivory Coast international played for Arsene Wenger’s side.

“Back when I was playing in north London derbies, it was only Arsenal and Manchester United fighting for the title and that was the biggest competition but today it’s more like City and United,” Toure told the champions’ official website.

“We need to try and win this game – we don’t want other teams to catch us because we want to make sure we get second but at the same time we want to close the gap at the top.

“It will be a tough game, we know the title is difficult and that they are in front of us.

“It’s going to be really important mentally for us – we lost the game at home and it’s important for us to try and win it back.

“We played a great game against Newcastle but now we need to be focused, prepared and to give 100 per cent on Monday.”