By Nick Teale
Arsène Wenger says he was not surprised to see Sunday's opponents Manchester United take their Carling Cup Semi-Final so seriously in midweek.
Like many clubs, United have previously used the competition to give regular first-team stars a rest. But on Wednesday night they fielded a full-strength side as they beat local rivals Manchester City to book a place in the Final.
Last week City's executive chairman Garry Cook told fans in New York that the club would "without doubt" become the "biggest and best in the world", fuelling the recent tension with United.
According to Wenger that sort of assertion added an extra dimension to the second-leg of the Semi-Final, therefore justifying Sir Alex Ferguson's team selection.
"I think you are in a trap always because it is half a Semi-Final and a derby," he said. "With Man City making a big statement, it was about local prestige.
"That was certainly important in the minds of the fans that they say 'No, Manchester United is still the greatest here, you cannot touch us at the moment.' That's the vibes you got from outside [of Manchester]."