The Republic of Ireland No 1, arguably the best legacy of Mark Hughes, joined Manchester City to fulfil his dreams of winning trophies and is on the verge of Carling Cup success, with the first leg of the semi-final against Manchester United on Wednesday.
Snow ho-ho: Benjani scores the winner in front of empty rows of seats
City sauntered to the fourth round of the FA Cup against toothless Middlesbrough. A frozen Given, struggling to feel his feet an hour after the final whistle, did not make his first save until David Wheater's tame injury-time header.
Roberto Mancini made five changes and will have mixed views on his replacements, of whom young Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata was the most outstanding. Hopefully, he has found a manager prepared to develop such talent.
The City keeper has been impressed by the impact Mancini has made, shown by three wins and three clean sheets for Given - although they have come against Stoke, Wolves and Boro.
Given said: 'Mark Hughes left and I will always be grateful for him bringing me to this club, but, as a professional, you know these things happen and you have to be prepared to move on.
Ice cool: Roberto Mancini defies the blizzard
'The new manager has worked hard on the defence, not just the back four, but the whole team when we lose the ball. He is adamant about the way he wants his team to be set up.
'You cannot argue with the guy's record. He did great with Inter and he was a great player, so you have to respect him for that. I have been impressed with him. I like the way he knows what he wants from his teams.'
Benjani sealed victory on his first start of the season with an emphatic finish in the last minute of the first half - his first goal for more than a year.
Only Danny Coyne's saves from Craig Bellamy, Javier Garrido and Carlos Tevez and poor finishing from Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Petrov and Tevez prevented a rout. Adam Johnson's 32nd-minute departure with a hamstring pull killed off Middlesbrough's chances - just as the winger was starting to warm to his task and no doubt catch the eye of Mancini.
Magic of the Cup?Thousands of City fans were turned back on the M62 by police because of the Arctic weather. They were lucky. Awful game, Boro ravaged by injuries and zero confidence, City unconvincing and worst of all just 12,474 to endure it. Questions must be asked about ticket pricing for this game and how the bond can be restored between club and town.
Only a weak penalty appeal from Gary O'Neil enlivened the pitiful home support and the Boro captain was booked for his dive, although Sylvinho did make contact with him before his elaborate fall was punished by Stuart Attwell.
O'Neil protested his innocence. 'I felt a little knock on my right ankle and assumed I would get the foul. I would get a free kick anywhere else on the field.'
January brings Swansea, Sheffield United, Doncaster and Bristol City for Middlesbrough, not to mention Strachan's much-awaited new recruits. The impact of Strachan's arrival has backfired and those January signings will be under pressure to deliver in a team bereft of confidence and fans.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-5-1): Coyne 8; McMahon 6, Wheater 7, Riggott 6, Hoyte 5; Franks 6, O'Neil 6, R Williams 6, Arca 6 (L Williams 70mins, 6), A Johnson 7 (Emnes 32,4; Yeates 57, 6); Bent 4. Booked: O'Neil.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-1-1): Given 6; Zabaleta 6, Richards 6 (Barry 46, 7), Boyata 8, Garrido 6; Weiss 6 (Bellamy 73, 7), de Jong 6 (Tevez 46, 6), Kompany 6, Sylvinho 6; Petrov 7; Benjani 5.Booked: Garrido, Barry. Man of the match: Dedryck Boyata. Referee: Stuart Attwell.
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