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This unexpected opportunity is one that Kompany, the Manchester City captain, said the players were determined not to let slip.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” he said. “It’s far from over, and we know that, but just to give our fans two wins over Manchester United this season _ we have to finish it off.”

The derby win meant City has won all but one home match this season, drawing the other.

“Newcastle is now our focus,” goalkeeper Joe Hart said. “Hopefully we can push on and get one game closer.”

Ferguson conceded that City was now the title favorite, but sounded a defiant note ahead of the final matches.

“They’re in the driving seat now,” he said. “They only need to win two games of football.

“It’s not over yet, of course it’s not. As long as there are games of football to play it’s not over. We have both the same points, but they’ve got an eight-goal advantage _ it’s a big advantage at this stage of the season.”