Manchester, United Kingdom – Assistant manager David Platt insists there should be no concerns about Manchester City's lack of goals.
City, who trail United by seven points, have scored 34 league goals, which is 12 fewer than the Premier League leaders.
Their expensively-assembled strike-force is badly out of form, with Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez having managed just one goal in their last eight matches.
Italy striker Mario Balotelli has scored just once in his last 10 games, while Bosnian Edin Dzeko has managed one in 13.
But Platt is adamant ahead of Saturday's trip to Norwich that all four will have significantly improved their potency by the end of the campaign.
He said: “I think if you asked them they would be disappointed in the return over the games they have played but goalscorers go through barren spells.
“It is just unfortunate that at the moment all of them seem to be having one at the same time. It's not just them. Compared to the number of goals we scored last season we are significantly down but that is all around the pitch.
“We have got to produce better chances and we have to put them away.
These are all players who have goalscoring records over a period of years but invariably at the end of the season that quota will be back up to one in two, one in one and a half.”
City manager Roberto Mancini was forced to leave his recruitment until the end of the summer transfer window.
He has suggested that he hopes to make several additions in January.
But Platt maintains that there will not necessarily be any new arrivals to bolster the squad in the new year.
Platt added: “I would just be speculating. I think it is a very difficult market to go and work in.
“The kind of players you would want to improve a squad like Manchester City are invariably already playing for the top teams that are involved in chasing honours.
“I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't do any business.”
French defender Gael Clichy is training again after missing the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland with a minor injury, while Samir Nasri, who has been out with a hamstring problem, is also close to a return.
Balotelli is still struggling with a virus but Tevez returned to training on Friday after missing Thursday's session through illness.
Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell are still sidelined.
Although City trail United by seven points following their defeat to the Black Cats last time out, Platt is certain that Mancini's side will push their neighbours all the way to the end of the season.
Platt said: “Seven points is a significant amount, there's no doubt about it. United are in the driving seat but there is half a season to go.
“I don't think it is insurmountable by any stretch of the imagination.
It's not as though we are playing badly. We feel as though we are playing well, we are producing efforts on target.
“It will be tight. We feel as though we have the capabilities to produce enough points in the back half of the season to put a serious challenge in.
“You can look at it that until the end of the season they are all must-win games but if we win the league and we have lost a couple then we will have proved them wrong.
“We want to bounce straight back and go down there and produce a performance like we did at Sunderland but this time get the goals that our performance deserves.”
The Football Association have written to Mancini to ask him for his written observations about his comments regarding referee Kevin Friend after the loss at the Stadium of Light. – Sapa-AFP