With goals on his last two appearances, Bernardo Silva has fond memories of playing at Old Trafford.
So much so that not even the impressive impact of his Portuguese compatriot Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United will unnerve him when Manchester City visit again on Sunday.
The midfield pair – who won the UEFA Nations League with their national team last summer – will put aside their close friendship as City pursue a fourth successive Premier League win at the home of their neighbours.
Fernandes, who has scored three times in seven games since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in a deal worth up to £67.7 million, will be key to ending United’s wretched run.
And Lisbon-born Bernardo told Sport360 exclusively: “I’m not surprised how well he has started because he’s a great player.
“He’s a good friend of mine, I’ve played with him since we were in the Under-19s with Portugal.
“His qualities? He has a great work rate, very intelligent and he’s a guy who arrives very well in the box, scores a lot of goals, gets assists. He’s a crucial player and is showing that in the first few weeks.
“I’m happy for him, he’s had a great start. He asked me about Manchester and I said what I thought was right.
“It’s a great club for him, it’s a great opportunity and he’s doing great.
“I’m happy for him because he’s a friend, but I just don’t want him to win on Sunday. I want to beat him obviously.”
Fernandes was linked with United, Spurs and even City among others last season, but a move to England didn’t materialise until January – and he has made such a great first impression that United fans and many observers have tipped him to lead them to glory again.
“I don’t know why,” added Bernardo on why clubs did not sign the 25-year-old before.
“He was quite expensive and sometimes it’s not easy to get player like Bruno because teams always demand so much money for players like him.
“But I think he’s worth the value that they paid and he’s showing it right now.
“I think the people should stay calm though. Even though he’s a great player it’s just the beginning.
“People should give him space to work and to do his job well. It’s a good start and hopefully he can keep going that way.
“But he can handle the pressure, yes. He was Sporting’s captain for more than two seasons and he was the leader there – and I think he can be a leader at Man United as well.”
While Fernandes will sample his first taste of a Manchester derby at the weekend, Bernardo revealed his own relish for this occasion.
“It’s a very special game for the players, and for the fans and we want to give them this win,” he added.
In his first season at City, following a £43 million transfer from Monaco, the 25-year-old enjoyed a 2-1 Premier League success at the Theatre of Dreams.
Bernardo also scored in last season’s 2-0 away win, which was crucial in their late charge to retain the title.
Then, just two months ago, it was his sensational 25-yard strike that sent City on their way to a decisive 3-1 Carabao Cup semi-final first leg victory at United.
A third successive trophy in that competition was duly sealed at Wembley last weekend against Aston Villa.
It followed a memorable 2-1 win at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid in their Champions League last-16 first leg tie and a fine week was completed with a 1-0 triumph at Sheffield Wednesday to book a meeting with Newcastle in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
While the league title may be heading to Liverpool, City are still remarkably in contention for another trophy treble.
“We feel good, we feel we are in a good run,” added Bernardo.
“We have won the Carabao Cup, now in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and the Champions League first leg was quite good for us after what happened in Madrid. So hopefully we can now keep it going.
“It’s a really important game against United. We know we can’t get the title anymore, but it’s important to qualify for the Champions League as quickly as possible and to get the second place.
“It’s a good memory last time we went to Old Trafford [in the Carabao Cup], it was one of my best goals.
“But we have played three times there since I came and we have always won so it’s been good for me.
“We know how difficult it is to play there. When you play against a team like Man United with their fans, the history and everything, it’s always special to play them.
“A derby is always a special game, requires pressure and passion from the fans. We are used to playing big games and these are the games we like to play.”