The Etihad Stadium outfit have won two of the last three Premier League titles but the Dutchman says that the Red Devils remain the bigger club
Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has claimed that Manchester City are still not on the same level as the Old Trafford outfit.
The two sides have won the last three Premier League titles between them, with City triumphing in 2012 and 2014, either side of the Red Devils' historic 20th championship in what was Sir Alex Ferguson's final season at the helm.
Aleksandar Kolarov claimed earlier in the week that City have been "superior" to their cross-town rivals for past "five or six years" now - but Van Gaal has now hit back, arguing that City remain the smaller club.
“Abroad we have more fans and followers on social media," the United boss told reporters on Saturday.
"Also Bayern Munich is the biggest club of Germany. The same thing for Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain.
"It [would take] a long time for Manchester City to reach that level.”
Van Gaal also rubbished the suggestion that a United victory at the Etihad Stadium would somehow be diminished by the fact that City with will be without key midfielder David Silva, who has been ruled out of action for at least four weeks with knee ligament damage.
“We are used to having injured players because we have [had] seven players injured all season," the former Netherlands boss countered.
"So what can I say? They have one player injured and they are out of the match?
“We have also had [Wayne] Rooney away for three matches. He is my captain; he is also a playmaker; he can score.
"I haven’t mentioned that, not in any interview. It is no excuse.”
City currently third in the Premier League table, nine points behind leaders Chelsea, but four ahead of United.