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Cook adds to explosive mix

CITY mouthpiece and CEO Garry Cook has added another ton of fuel to Manchester's Carling Cup derby fire by claiming; "We'll be the biggest club in the world."

Cook's comments, made during a fans forum in New York, will ramp up the heat under what could be an explosive semi-final return leg next Wednesday.

Already, the English FA have requested a meeting with both clubs in a bid to ease tensions surrounding the fixture.

But following Carlos Tevez's extraordinary put-down of Old Trafford skipper Gary Neville on Argentinian radio last night, the game has all the potential to boil over.

Certainly, Cook's arrogant boast will be seen as a provocation by Alex Ferguson and his players and if they needed any further motivation to turn around a 2-1 defeat at the Eastlands, they have it now.

"This football club is, without doubt, going to be the biggest and best football club in the world," Cook said.

"I will make no excuses for saying it, as I truly believe it - with the resources and capabilities we have," he added.

It is expected the FA will officially confirm that Neville will face no sanction over his one-fingered gesture to Carlos Tevez during Tuesday's first-leg. Nevertheless, the FA acknowledge that the simmering tension between the two sides could lead to an escalation of the problem next week, when the red and blue halves of Manchester face each other once more to decide who will face Aston Villa at Wembley on February 28.

Although the desire for cool heads will be kept informal, the FA hope the two clubs heed their message given the huge number of people who will be watching a match which has captured attention far beyond the city itself.

However, there is enough bad blood between Tevez and Neville now to spark a thousand conflicts.

"It was bad of him to say Ferguson was right," said Tevez, speaking on Argentina's Radio Rivadavia and in his native Spanish tongue.