On the eve of Tuesday night's first leg at Eastlands, the new City boss claimed the gap between the two clubs is closing fast.
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Asked if he could eclipse his rivals, Mancini said: 'If we work wellit's possible. Why not? Manchester United have a big history and havebeen a good team for many years but, for me, City can become a big teamin the next year.'
Mancini, who is set to keep club-record £32.5million signing Robinhoon the bench after a disappointing display against Everton on Saturday,added: 'I think it's most important for us to get in the top four. Thatwill change the situation for me. We have respect for United but wewant to get to the final and to do that we have to beat them. Winningthe Carling Cup has to be the start and then in the future we canimprove.'
Eastlands' exit? Robinho was hauled off by Mancini after failing to impress as a substitute himself, in the 2-0 defeat at Everton
United, in contrast, have tried to play down the significance oftonight's tie and defender Patrice Evra aimed a dig at City by claimingthey are more pre-occupied with beating Ferguson's team than winningthe cup itself.
Evra said: 'It's an important game, a big game. Maybe that's thedifference between United and City: we play to win the Carling Cup,they play to win against United.'
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was more cautious, saying: 'Youhave to recognise City are a competitor now. We have had to wait a longtime for it to be like that. But it doesn't matter how many semi-finalsyou have played in, they are always occasions you want to do well in.'
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