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Given promises United more misery

MANCHESTER, January 5 – Shay Given has vowed to make it a week of cup pain for Manchester United when Manchester City face their neighbours in the first leg of their League Cup semi-final on Wednesday.Roberto Mancini’s City 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.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is expected to react to that setback by naming a strong line-up against opponents who have won three successive games without conceding a goal since Mancini was appointed.

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 Given is confident that City, whose last major cup success came when they lifted the League Cup in 1976, can establish a first leg advantage to take to Old Trafford in two weeks time.

"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 (League) 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."

Given admits Mancini’s work on the training ground is having a positive effect on the team.

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"He is quite a cool and relaxed guy but he knows what he wants from the team," added Given. "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."

United defender Jonny Evans has warned City to beware a backlash following the shock defeat to Leeds.

Evans admits that Sunday’s result has made his team-mates more determined to retain the League Cup. The Northern Ireland international 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."

Mancini meanwhile is confident he will have no trouble attracting more big names to City — but the Italian insists transfer deals will have to wait until after Wednesday.

Mancini has been tipped to take Patrick Vieira from his former club Inter Milan on loan until the end of the season and he refused to confirm or deny the speculation.

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"All the players want to join Manchester City," he said. "That is normal with a big club who is going to have a big future.

"People are not only talking about Patrick Vieira, they are also saying (other Inter players) Ivan Cordoba and Cristian Chivu."

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