By ESPNSTAR.com staff
United are currently top of the table on 36 points, three points ahead of second placed City, who have struggled in recent times and were unceremoniously dumped out of Europe on Wednesday following their 1-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
With City already under immense pressure following their disappointing European adventures, Rooney has called on his side to further demoralise their arch-rivals when they meet at the Etihad stadium in the Manchester derby.
"If we win it will put more pressure on them," Rooney was quoted as saying by the Sun.
"Three points would be massive. Us going six points clear would be a big statement.
"With City out of the Champions League, they are having a bit of a tough time - I think everyone can see that.
"We're in a great position and don't want to give it up.
"There is a big rivalry, the two of us are fighting for that No 1 spot."
City got the better of their Manchester neighbours on both occasions last season and beat United to the title on the final day of the season via goal difference, but Rooney insists that there was no lasting psychological damage from their losses.
"It still hurts, yeah, of course," Rooney said of losing the title to City.
"But that's gone now. We have to look forward to this season."
Much of United's wins have come courtesy of summer signing Robin Van Persie, and Rooney has tipped the former Arsenal player to be the difference in the Manchester derby.
"Yeah, of course, he [Van Persie] can make a difference, he's an experienced player," Rooney added.
"He's played in Arsenal-Tottenham derbies before and a lot of internationals - so he will certainly be ready for it. He won't need us to tell him about it.
"I think he will know all about what it's going to be like. The North London derby is obviously a big game also.
"So he'll be aware of what it is about. If he's not, then I'm sure he will find out soon enough.
"Robin has been a great player for us - so we are all hoping he can be the difference for us on Sunday.
"But we are all in it together and hoping we can get the three points.
"We are in a good position in the league and we don't want to give that up this early."
United have played City 146 times before, with United leading the head-to-head record with 58 wins and City coming up top on 39 occasions.