Louis van Gaal
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has begun mind games ahead of the Red Devils clash against neighbours Manchester City on SundayGetty Images

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has begun mind games ahead of the Red Devils clash against neighbours Manchester City on Sunday, 12 April.

The Dutchman believes that the Old Trafford club are favourites to clinch the tie owing to their recent upturn in form, which has seen them win their last five Premier League encounters, that included clashes against top four rivals Tottenham and Liverpool.

Van Gaal believes that the confidence of a team plays a role in the heads of his team and as well as their rivals and was referring to City's Monday night kick-off against Crystal Palace as a game that could play a part in the derby on Sunday.

United played their game against Aston Villa on 4 April, whereas the Etihad Stadium outfit had to wait till Monday for their game, the Old Trafford club won their game and moved above City in the Premier League table and following City's shock loss at Selhurst Park, they now travel to Old Trafford behind their local rivals.

"It plays a part in the spirit of the players — of our opponents but also our players. We have more confidence now and when (if) they lose a point against Crystal Palace, then it is also sitting in their minds," Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Daily Mail.

"I don't know the individual players of Manchester City so well, so I cannot judge them. But we have a lot of confidence and we haven't lost so many times at home. The next game is going to be the decisive game," the Red Devils boss added.

United's recent record against City is not the best as they have won just once against their rivals in their last six encounters and have not won a Manchester Derby at Old Trafford since 2011.

The Dutch manager is keen to change that stat when Manuel Pellegrini's men visit on Sunday, and believes that the loss against City in the first-half of the season will not play a part in this clash, as it was a completely different Manchester United last time around.

"It was another Manchester United, I believe. We have developed the team. That was more in the start of the process and now we are in the end of the process," the former Bayern Munich manager explained.

"So I think also the confidence of our players is very high at the moment but also our performances show that so it's not the same Manchester United. It's like the game against Liverpool and the game (coming up) against Chelsea — you have to win these kinds of matches," Van Gaal added.