Fourth-placed City play one of their three matches in hand on leaders Chelsea when they take on United next Tuesday.
If Manuel Pellegrini's side win all those games they will go three points clear at the top but the short trip to United has huge significance, especially considering the Red Devils' struggles this season, on a local scale.
"That game can change everything," said the Brazil international.
"I hope our team will be ready and we can walk the streets without any problems and that our fans can give us some hugs afterwards.
"When you win these games, you can walk down the street, but not when you lose.
"The derby is important for the players, the fans and the city, and of course it will be special for everyone.
"I played in derbies in Brazil and Ukraine (for Atletico Paranaense and Shakhtar Donetsk respectively) but this one is special - I don't know why, but it feels different.
"Both teams will be motivated. They (United) have a lot of things to be motivated about and we are motivated about the title race.
"I think the game will be beautiful - I just hope we play very well."
However, before the encounter at Old Trafford, City have to deal with Fulham, who may be bottom of the table but last weekend won their first league game in 10 matches.
"Right now we need to think just about Fulham, to beat them at home and play well, so we can take some confidence into next Tuesday against United," added the 28-year-old.
"Maybe we will start to talk about them on Monday but now it's all about Fulham.
"People might think Fulham will be an easy game but there are no easy games - every game is a final for us.
"Now every player is 100 per cent thinking about their performance in the league, not just to win the title but our performance game by game."