Gary Neville has been speaking ahead of the FA Cup semi-final with neighbours City at Wembley on Saturday...
What were your thoughts when City came out of the semi-final draw?
That’s a big match! Again, having been in these situations as a player in that dressing room, they will not even be thinking about that. They’re cold-hearted people, United players, playing under Sir Alex Ferguson they don’t let emotion get to them before a match, they’ll just go out and play as they have done with every other City match, play their football, try and control the tempo of the game, keep patient and do what Manchester United have done many times over the last 15 to 20 years and that’s try to win big matches. They’ve got good experience in doing that. It’ll be a very difficult game against good opponents and the stakes are high, but it’s not unusual for our players to be going into that situation and having to cope with those circumstances.
How will you nerves be?
I’ll probably in some ways wish I was playing, because you do look at it completely differently. You have a different level of anxiety when you go to watch the match as a fan, you’re not in control, you’re helpless but you know full-well the players that you’ve seen out there, you’ve played with and know that they’re representing the club in the way in which it should always be represented. They hold the club in their hearts, they’re passionate about it and they’re focused, and they’ve got the experience and standard of performance to deliver, and all you would ask them to do is deliver to those standards and I’m sure we’ll be okay.
Is it inevitable that City will eventually win a big game against United?
I think if you’re only working on the theory of inevitability, that’s something that should be quite positive for us. The reality is that when the players go out on the pitch they have to perform and have to still win the match. I don’t think City players will be going into the game thinking ‘well, we’re bound to win one’, that that’s what they’re resting their chances on. They won’t be. But from our perspective it’s about making sure we treat it as another game. We’ve lost derbies down the years, so it’s not unusual but this is a big one and our players will be aware of that, as City’s will. FA Cup games can go either way, anything can happen on the