The dream was on as City captain broke the deadlock and Ilkay Gundogan added another in a first half far more one-sided than the two-goal advantage suggested against shambolic United.
This was the second match in a row that his team had conceded three goals in the space of 15-20 minutes.
The sense was compounded by that very bad first half. He's not had a great time at United but he was brilliant in the second half.
United goalkeeper David de Gea demonstrated his world-class ability with a brilliant save from Aguero before the curtain came down on 90 minutes that nearly suspended belief and turned the hope of the home support upside down into despair.
"I didn't want to lose against City. Because the way he played is only possible when he's focused on the game".
Inspired by Barcelona's remarkable comeback from a 0-4 round of 16 first-leg deficit to Paris Saint-Germain to win 6-5 on aggregate past year, Guardiola insisted that it is possible to beat Liverpool if City are clinical on the night.
The draw, though, allowed Spurs to move alongside them with a sixth straight league win as they defeated Stoke, whose relegation fears in 19th place were only heightened. United's best Premier League side accrued "just" 79 points in that Treble season.
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The match was also important for Mourinho.
Instead, Pogba's duff form caused unrest between him and Mourinho, and led to the manager dropping him in February for a Premier League win over Huddersfield Town and the Champions League defeat by Sevilla in March.
Eric Bailly (5) - Noticeably United's best defender usually and it was noticeably not the defenders best day at the office.
RD: It was a good time to play City and even though it was a strong side, they weren't at full strength. When the weeping fans glance at the standings they will still see City 13 points clear of United at the summit with six games remaining.
Ander Herrera (7) - Like Matic, Herrera was part of the midfield that failed to maintain shape in the first half.
Herrera said: "Paul can be the best in the world". Last night's win was a big mental victory and hopefully, they would thrive going forward.
Well, if the champagne was ready and the ice was frozen; then it was a sheer waste of money and excitement as Manchester City totally ruined the party mood that engulfed the stadium at halftime.
Raheem Sterling's old uncertainty in front of goal, absent this season, suddenly returned and his two missed chances ended up as decisive moments in a most unlikely turn of events.