Thursday 20 July 2017

Scholes keen to deny City

Paul Scholes. Photo: Getty Images
Paul Scholes. Photo: Getty Images

Paul Scholes has revealed Manchester United's desperation to prevent Manchester City ending their 34-year trophy drought.

Tensions surrounding the first derby clash of the campaign have been building for weeks now, with first City goading their neighbours because of their poor form before tables were turned over the past fortnight.



Amongst the supporters at least, the meetings between red and blue have taken on a different perspective thanks to Sheikh Mansour's largesse.



Three injury-time victories for United last term merely contributed to the heightened passions in a match that has become far more than just a battle for three precious Premier League points.



In such a football-dominated city, bragging rights are of huge significance, with the clock that hangs from the Stretford End, depicting the number of years since the Blues last lifted any major silverware amongst the most visual aspects.



Before last season's Carling Cup semi-final decider, there was a sense amongst the United faithful that the final itself was of minor significance compared to the demand of halting City's charge to Wembley.



And, even in the Old Trafford dressing room, it seems the inevitability of not winning trophies brings with it a hope that certain others do not profit at United's expense.



"We want to win trophies," underlined Scholes.



"But we can't win everything and while we don't get the option of choosing who wins the other, there are some teams you would rather do it and others you would prefer not to.



"We are all desperate to stay above City. That goes for everyone.



"Even a 21-year-old newcomer to the club will feel the same way.



"We wouldn't like City to win anything in much the same way as they wouldn't want us to win anything else."



Scholes proved to be the matchwinner the last time the two sides met in April, when he ghosted unchallenged into the City box to nod home an injury-time winner which ultimately did not prove decisive in the Premier League title race but did help stop Roberto Mancini's men from finishing in a Champions League spot.



Yet the knowledge that City now have a prize to aim for in addition to the derby-day spoils themselves does not leave Scholes feeling the occasions have become more intense.



As a born and bred Mancunian, he has always felt that about them anyway.



"Every derby game I have been involved with has always been massive," he said.



"The atmosphere is great, as I am sure it will be on Wednesday.



"Maybe City expect a bit more than they have done in the past and rightly so with the money they have spent and the players they have bought.



"That expectation has not always been there in the past."



The return of United old-boy Carlos Tevez has already had an impact on City and for all his off-field woes, the South American will be giving his all to try to ensure bragging rights for his new club this week.



Scholes prefers not to enter the debate about controversial comments Tevez has made in the past about his time at United, preferring to stick with the safe option.



"The Tevez factor does not play any part," he said.



"He was a top player for this club and decided to move elsewhere. That is the end of it.



"The fact is City are a top team. They have spent a lot of money on quality players and had a great start to the season.



"Maybe they have come unstuck a little bit lately but form does go out of the window on occasions such as this. Anything can happen on derby night."



Sir Alex Ferguson will have to assess the fitness of his squad before finalising United's starting line-up.



Even the manager himself has been affected by the virus that has swept through the Red Devils camp.



Scholes was one of those struck down, as was Michael Carrick, who is emerging as a pivotal figure once more after a tough start to the campaign.



"Michael did struggle with injuries earlier this season but we all know what a top quality player he is," said Scholes.



"He can run all day, make great passes and is capable of scoring goals as well as making them.



"He is a solid, big presence in the centre of midfield.



"Now we are starting to see the benefit of him getting games.



"His sharpness has gradually returned so hopefully the form he has shown in the last few matches will continue because he is a big part of the team."



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