Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday January 5 2010
International City battlers Shay Given, midfield general Nigel De Jong and all areas scrapper Pablo Zabaleta are fired up to ensure no repeat of last September's derby defeat...
All three Blues stars have spoken to the official site and underlined the squad's new found focus under Roberto Mancini's shrewd leadership as the suave Italian prepares his men for the showdown with the rags.
One noteable aspect in the run up to this derby has been the almost total absence of the arrogant statements that were fired out by united players in the run up to the scandalous 4-3.
City skipper Shay:
'The fans are excited and so are the players...these should be two red-hot encounters. Semi finals are great but people only remember the cup winners. We are all set up to achieve something here. We want to win a trophy...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.
'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 on Wednesday night.'
Midfield cage fighter De Jong:
De Jong doesn't give a bollocks to all the hack debates over who Taggart will select to play. Lest we forget, the senior players he chose against Leeds were awful.
'It really doesn't matter who plays for United, we know that they have a lot of quality...in the end we cannot worry about them or what they are doing. We must concentrate on stopping them from scoring and making sure that we perform to our best. If we do that then we have already shown we are a match for anyone.
'Most of us have experience of playing in two-legged ties so we know that nothing will be decided after one game. There has to be a degree of patience. We know what is at stake and we are hungry for success. We showed at Old Trafford that that we can stand toe to toe with United. We want to win this tie for our fans.'
Here there and everywhere Zabaleta:
'This is an important tie for the club and the fans. We want to give our supporters something to celebrate. We are growing as a club and winning something is a big part of that growth. We are here to change history and this could be the start.
'From the first training session with the manager we have been doing a lot of work on defence. Mancini has great experience which will benefit the club.'
And of Zaba's best mate Carlos Tevez, he underlines 'El Apache's' key role:
'Carlos is happy at City where he has become a crowd favourite. He has fantastic qualities that make him popular with fans and teammates.
'He never stops running and defending from the front. He loves his football and City fans love him. I know he believes in the club and the project and is desperate to win something here as quickly as possible.'
The City squad are seriously up for this one.
VMC Forum Link: MATCHDAY THREAD: Man City v Dirty Rags - Carling Cup Semi-Final - Wed Jan 6th - KO. 19:45 UK Time
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Date:Tuesday January 5 2010
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