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United easier without Ron, taunts Micah

MANCHESTER CITY defender Micah Richards has fanned the flames ahead of Sunday&rsquo;s local derby by insisting Manchester United miss Cristiano Ronaldo.<br /><br />United sit second in the Premier League but have yet to find top gear this season, since selling &pound;80m winger Ronaldo to Real Madrid over the summer. And Richards believes that makes them ripe for the picking for in-form City, who have won all four of their league games so far.<br /><br />&ldquo;United have always lost big stars in the past and they always manage to replace them but Ronaldo not playing is a massive positive for us,&rdquo; said Richards. &ldquo;Hopefully we won&rsquo;t be thinking about them, and concentrating on what we are going to do.&rdquo;<br /><br />City&rsquo;s more illustrious rivals did the double over them last season, but Richards says those fixtures could easily have gone the other way. Indeed the season before last, under Sven-Goran Eriksson, City stunned United by beating them both at home and away. And having lavished &pound;120m in the close season on luring the league&rsquo;s most sought-after stars, the Richards expects the blue half to be celebrating again this weekend.<br /><br />&ldquo;Last year was disappointing but I don&rsquo;t think they were that much better than us. They didn&rsquo;t wallop us off the park,&rdquo; he added. &ldquo;But we showed two years ago, with a lesser team than we have now, what you can do by putting in 100 per cent. We are up for it. We have better players now and are relishing it. We love the challenge and playing in the derby will be unbelievable for the players.&rdquo;<br /><br />City will be without Emmanuel Adebayor after the Football Association yesterday confirmed his three-match ban for violent conduct.<br />