The Derby: Bowen And Evra Raise The Stakes
The Manchester derby build up is well underway and the different camps are already making their intentions clear...
There's nothing like the derby to get the blue or red blood pumping and it could well be that this season we might see a couple of real contests after last season's damp squibs.
To our immense frustration City failed to show in the last campaign and as with most of the contests with Big Four sides, afforded the opposition far too much respect. The rags by contrast perennially never take The Blues seriously even though their record against City since their promotion under Mad Kev has been far from one way traffic.
That mentality could be about to change however if Patrice Evra, arguably the rags best player's latest comments are anything to go by:
'City will want to show people they are the kings of Manchester but they aren't yet. We have to make sure that doesn't happen.
They are going for the Champions League. It will be difficult against them because they haven't lost. They are ambitious and want to stay in the top four, they've bought a lot of players and beat Arsenal 4-2 so they will be going into the game with a lot of confidence. But we are confident because we are Manchester United...over the years we have won a lot more than City and we need to make sure we do that again. We have a lot of respect for City but we are Man United, and every time we play City we really have to show that.'
Certainly Shaun Wright-Phillips or rumoured debutant Vladimir Weiss will have to be on top of their game to push the ever determined Evra back. Hard to think he was so abjectly brutal in his rag debut which ironically came in a thumping at Eastlands.
Back in Manchester, Mark Bowen, City's calm Assistant Manager summed up the mood around SportCity. He told the official site:
'Everybody's really looking forward to it. We will have a gameplan come the day. We've stuck to our gameplan so far and it's gone well for us. We'll go with confidence.
There's a real buzz about the derby, especially coming on the back of the Arsenal performance. It's been said already that there is an excitement around the place, an expectation. There's a heck of a lot of confidence around the training ground.
Drawing inspiration from City finding an extra gear last Saturday, he went on:
'Arsenal has put a marker down for us. That was a key game. There were question marks going in, the knockers were saying we hadn't played a top-four side yet. But I think that's put that one to bed. More than anything, it's important to have the start that we've had with new players coming into place - it was important they gelled quickly. It's given us a real foundation, a platform to go on from here.'
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