Despite a bitter rivalry between the two teams which is set to be renewed when the new season kicks off next month, chairman Al Mubarak insists City must learn from United's example of turning short-term success into long-term dominance.
"United have set the benchmark," he said, in an interview on City's Champions DVD.
"What they have accomplished in the last 20 years is incredible. It sets the benchmark for any club in the world in terms of success. We all have the highest respect for Sir Alex, we all have the highest respect for United as a team and what they have accomplished.
"We look at teams like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, AC Milan and Bayern Munich. What they represent to their cities, to their communities, what they've accomplished, these teams are the benchmarks."