Manchester United will need to play a "near-perfect game" to beat city rivals Manchester City when the two sides meet at Old Trafford this weekend, former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has said.

United are eight points behind Premier League leaders City heading into the first Manchester derby of the season, and Hamann warned that the Red Devils cannot afford to lose and fall further behind their arch-rivals.

The former Germany midfielder said the home side's chances rest on how clinical they are in front of goal and how well they can shackle City's creator-in-chief Kevin De Bruyne.

United's hopes have been dented by a three-game ban handed out to Paul Pogba after the midfielder was sent off against Arsenal last weekend.

"You can't give De Bruyne any space, he is the heartbeat of everything good Manchester City is doing," Hamann told Sky Sports.

"Obviously Pogba is a big loss, but you need to play a near-perfect game, take your chances and they have a good goalkeeper so they should be OK."

Hamann named City as favourites for the hugely anticipated match, but said United had the tools to punish Pep Guardiola's side at Old Trafford.

"You have to defend well, you have to take your chances and you must not give them any easy opportunities," the former Liverpool man said.

Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester United have been urged to man-mark Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne Getty Images

"I think you have to cut out mistakes, if one team at the moment can beat them I would be looking at Manchester United because in these big games they are usually very stubborn and very hard to break down.

"They got a great result at Arsenal, where they had probably been outplayed for most of the game and came away with a result."

City suffered their first defeat in 29 matches on 6 December as Shakhtar Donetsk beat them 2-1 in Ukraine in the Champions League.