Blind braced for physical Manchester derby

With one Manchester derby already under his belt, Manchester United midfielder Daley Blind is better prepared for what is to come at Old Trafford.

Blind - a £14 million recruit from Eredivisie champions Ajax in September - was taken aback by the physicality of November's first meeting with Manchester City, which the Premier League champions won 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Fast forward six months and Blind has become an integral member of United's midfield after adapting to life in England's top flight.

And the 25-year-old is braced for a ferocious battle on Sunday, with third-placed United looking to extend their lead over City. 

"The biggest memory of that first Manchester derby was when I saw one of our players on the ball in the middle of the pitch when suddenly a City player came flying in," Blind told The Mirror.

"He was off the ground and his leg was straight and it was only because my team-mate jumped out of the way that he was not injured severely.

"I was stood right next to the tackle. I turned to the referee and screamed, 'Hey, this is crazy'.

"But the referee didn’t even blink. It was then that I realised what this derby is about and what English football is about.

"Tackles like that are allowed here and so you have to play in the same style. Now, just a few months later, it is automatic for me to tackle like that. I don't even think about getting stuck in with a straight leg."