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23 February 2024

Given takes aim at United

Given also admitted Mancini's work on the training ground is having a positive effect on the team. (SUPPLIED)


Shay Given has vowed to make it a week of cup pain for Manchester United when his Manchester City side face their neighbours in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final tonight.

Roberto Mancini's charges hope to take a huge stride towards ending a 34-year wait for major silverware when they host a United side reeling from their elimination from the FA Cup by League One club Leeds United.

"The fans are excited and so are the players – these should be two red-hot encounters," said Given.

"The aim is still to try and win something this season. We made a good start in the FA Cup at the weekend and we are close to a final in the Carling Cup."

The last Manchester derby was a seven-goal epic, United edging the Premier League fixture 4-3 with Michael Owen scoring a last-gasp winner past Given.

The Ireland keeper admits it was a painful experience at Old Trafford back in September, but is confident the club can record their first major cup success since winning the League Cup in 1976.

"We have only lost twice all season so we are doing OK. One of those was against United and I have to admit it took a long while to get over that result. We played well that day without any reward. Hopefully it will be different tonight."

Given also admitted Mancini's work on the training ground is having a positive effect on the team.

"He is quite a cool and relaxed guy, but he knows what he wants from the team," he added. "Since he arrived we have worked hard on defending as a unit.

"We have worked a lot on shadow play and where he wants everyone to be when we don't have the ball. He is adamant about how he wants the team to set up. I have been impressed by him.

"I owe Mark Hughes [the former manager] a lot for bringing me to the club, but as a professional you have to move on. The owners made the decision to change and they pay the wages."

City hope to have Brazil striker Robinho and defender Micah Richards fit for the derby clash, but Shaun Wright-Phillips and Roque Santa Cruz are injury doubts while Irish midfielder Stephen Ireland misses out.

However, no matter who City put out, United defender Jonny Evans has warned the Citizens to beware a backlash following his side's shock defeat to Leeds.

Evans is convinced that Sunday's surprise result has made him and his team-mates even more determined to retain the Carling Cup.

The Northern Irish defender played in last season's final, in which United overcame Tottenham on penalties following a goalless draw at Wembley.

"We're right in the middle of a really busy time of season, but as a player it's one you really enjoy because there are lots of big games," said Evans. "As well as the league, we've got two big matches against Manchester City so it's an exciting time. I just want to play as big a part as I possibly can."


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