SHAY Given has admitted that a desire for revenge after Manchester City's controversial 4-3 defeat by Manchester United will be the predominant emotion when the sides meet in the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final tomorrow night.
Michael Owen's dramatic winning goal, which came five minutes into stoppage time, was all that separated the Manchester rivals when they met in the Premier League in September, and Given has revealed that the wounds caused by that setback have only just begun to heal.
"I have to admit it took me a long while to get over it," Given said.
"A lot has happened since but it took me a few weeks, even a couple of months, to get it out of my system. We played so well that day and for them to get such a late, late goal, it was difficult for everyone to swallow. We'd like to get our own back."
Craig Bellamy looked to have earned City an unlikely point as they came from behind for the third time to level only seconds before the end of 90 minutes in a pulsating match. Then Owen intervened.
"We've only lost twice all season, and that was one of them, in the 99th minute at Old Trafford -- I'm not sure what time it was. I think everyone else apart from the referee had stopped their watches by that time.
"We were gutted with the way it went, but we know we have to defend better in those situations tomorrow night and keep going till the whistle. But we go into it in good heart.
"It seems like a long time ago now and we have to look forward rather than back going into this game."
Roberto Mancini, the City manager, has been boosted by the news that Micah Richards, Nigel de Jong and Robinho are expected to have recovered from minor injuries in time for the match at the City of Manchester Stadium.
"It's going to be a special game for everyone," Given said. "We know the fans are excited about it, but so are the players. They are going to be two red-hot semi-finals. It's a huge derby this one; I know now how much it means.
"Only the winners get remembered so we're desperate to win a competition and be remembered at this club as the first players to pick up some trophies for a long time.
"We've got a great squad of players here. Everything is set up for us to do something."
© The Times, London