Manchester United are showing signs of returning to their brilliant best ahead of this weekend's derby, says Lee Sharpe.
Jose Mourinho has overseen three wins from as many league matches, a feat matched by his City rival Pep Guardiola as they prepare to renew a fierce rivalry on Saturday.
Sharpe, who won three Premier League titles at Old Trafford, watched United's last-gasp 1-0 win at Hull City prior to the international break and liked what he saw.
"It took me a little bit back to old United," he told Omnisport. "Hull made it really difficult for them defensively, yet they kept going and you could see at some point in the game that they were going to score.
"I think under Louis van Gaal they were a little bit sedate when they were chasing a game or chasing a winner towards the end, whereas this was like the Alamo.
"They were just going that whole last 20 minutes and it just so happens they scored in good old 'Fergie time'.
"The team look really strong in every department. I think the manager's strengthened in good areas with top-quality players and I think the rest of the team are raising their standards to join them."
The visitors will be without Sergio Aguero after he was banned for elbowing West Ham's Winston Reid during a 3-1 win.
Sharpe concedes the striker's absence is a blow not only for City, but for the game as a spectacle, though he is still expecting an entertaining encounter.
The 45-year-old added: "No Aguero, which is a shame in many ways, you want to see both teams at full strength and going bang at it.
"It will be a bit of an advantage to United because he is a special player, he can score a goal from nothing, but it's going to be a full-blown, 100 miles-per-hour, high-intensity, high-quality game.
"There's some unbelievable players on the pitch, so I'm expecting fireworks."