"I don't see the game as an opportunity to reassert our dominance over City. We are quite comfortable with where we are. We are second in the league, we're in the Carling Cup semi-final and we're in the second phase of the Champions League, so we have nothing to prove."
Those were the words of Manchester United captain Gary Neville ahead of last night's Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City.
A brace from former United striker Carlos Tevez saw City come from behind to take a 2-1 aggregate lead to Old Trafford, but it was Tevez's spat with G-Nev that has caught the attention.
After lashing home a penalty for the equaliser, Tevez ran to the touchline to direct a yapping hand gesture at Neville, who had previously stated that Alex Ferguson was right to let the Argentine leave and join City.
Neville responded by sticking his middle finger up at Tevez, very becoming of a 34-year-old man who is the senior member of a club "quite comfortable with where we are" and with "nothing to prove".
After the goal there were smug V signs from the home fans caught by the cameras, but had the director switched to the United bench for refuge they would have found Neville, sporting his bum fluff beard and big puffa jacket, slyly flipping the bird as though he were a teenager gesturing across the classroom.
It's easy to get carried away with the significance of the result in terms of the balance of power in Manchester - United only need to win the second leg 1-0 to reach the final, after all - and the result could have been a lot different had Wayne Rooney been rewarded for his magnificent efforts in the final stages.
However, Neville's reaction betrays just how worried the Red Devils are about the progress of their noisy neighbours.
At a time when the financial strife the club's owners have placed them in has been revealed, United's refusal not to pay up to make Tevez's loan deal permanent last summer looks increasingly not just a poor footballing decision, but also an impossible financial one.
During his two years at United Tevez was largely used, often along with Rooney, as the workhorse deployed to tirelessly support Cristiano Ronaldo, compromising his own attacking instincts.
Whereas, since Ronaldo's departure, Rooney has found himself swamped under the pressure of being United's only real force up front, with only Michael Owen and a man pretending to be Dimitar Berbatov for company, Tevez is relishing his new-found freedom. He playing like a man safe in the knowledge that he can count on any of City's other strikers for support. Except Roque Santa Cruz, of course, who can't even count on his own calves to support himself.
At the moment, Tevez's form embodies the lull United are experiencing. The way he smashed in his penalty had all the vengeful malice of a jilted lover, but the way he cupped his ears in front of the United bench after his second showed he has moved on, and he is all too happy to bump into his ex at the supermarket while shopping with his new partner.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "We're here to the end, till we die. We're not just going to bang it out to some Russian after five years. I've got a dodgy heart and David's 73. But his mum lived to 90-odd and my mum's still alive at 93. So maybe we'll beat the odds." - David Sullivan assures West Ham fans that he and David Gold will stick around until they're both brown bread.
FOREIGN VIEW: German second division club FSV Frankfurt have looked on the bright side at a bizarre goal the referee awarded in their 5-0 loss to MSV Duisburg last week. "Goal or no goal, now you can decide," Frankfurt said of their "phantom goal memorial" which urges fans to try their skills. "Whoever manages to hit the bar from 18 metres with the ball bouncing away from the goal gets free entry to the match."
COMING UP: It's advantage Villa in the other Carling Cup semi-final - follow the second leg of Aston Villa v Blackburn Rovers at 19:45.
Pop Quiz: Who are the only other team to have played the same opposition in back-to-back Premier League matches? No prize, just the worthless respect of your even more unworthy peers.
Answer: Sheffield Wednesday. The Owls faced Aston Villa on 6th March 1996 then again on 16th March. Villa played QPR in between.
But before all of that it's Andy Murray v Marc Gicquel in the second round of the Australian Open, which is happening RIGHT NOW! Follow live comments here or watch it on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) or via the Eurosport Player.