Hughes relishes united double-header

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Football News

Mark Hughes cannot wait to go toe-to-toe with Sir Alex Ferguson in their Carling Cup Manchester derby showdown.

After booking their first last four berth since 1981 by beating Arsenal 3-0 at Eastlands, City learned they must overcome United in a two-legged semi-final if they are to finally end their 33-year trophy drought.

As a legendary player - and League Cup winner - with United, Hughes now finds himself plotting the Red Devils' downfall. But it is an opportunity he is relishing, and he said: "It is a fantastic draw. Everybody in Manchester will be excited by it and probably a much wider worldwide footballing public as well."

When the two sides met earlier this season, Ferguson described City as "noisy neighbours", although the racket will be deafening if the Blues knock out the holders.

"Let's hope that is the case," said Hughes. "There has been a little bit of negativity around in recent weeks. That has been taken away.

"We are 16 or 17 games into the season and we have still only been beaten once. Not many City teams in the past have been capable of that - that is why we have invested so much money."

After a goalless first half, Carlos Tevez broke the deadlock five minutes into the second period with a thunderous strike. Man-of-the-match Shaun Wright-Phillips scored an equally memorable second before Vladimir Weiss tapped home a third late on.

The disappointing postscript was provided by Wenger's refusal to shake Hughes' hand after the final whistle.

Wenger refused to reveal exactly what had upset him, sarcastically replying "I have no professional courtesy" when it was suggested that was how a post-match handshake was viewed. However, it seemed the Frenchman had been wound up by Hughes wandering into his technical area during the first half, which led to an angry exchange between the pair.

And Hughes suggested Wenger should have reacted slightly differently in defeat, saying: "At one point I was over on his side of the technical area and he seemed to be a bit aggrieved by that. But I think he is probably more aggrieved because he got beaten."

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Vladimir Weiss
Carlos Tevez
League Cup
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Manchester United
Mark Hughes
Shaun Wright-Phillips

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