Date: 4th January 2010 at 11:21am
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Fergie did change his plans about the team to send out at Manchester City on Wednesday after a side comprised largely of fringe players lost at home to Leeds in the FA Cup.

‘We have a semi-final on Wednesday and a lot of these players today won`t be playing. You have to view that performance in the right light, but we have to get ready for Wednesday now. I had the team in mind but there may be one or two changes now.’

Or more, as hopefully we won’t risk playing Gibson, Obertan and Welbeck at Eastlands now. It seems they are not very good at dealing with pressure and there will be plenty of that, now that one of our best chances of winning silverware has disappeared.

As I wrote yesterday, the Carling Cup can be viewed as a mere consolation prize but we’re in no position to scoff at it right now: we have to grab this chance of winning something because landing either the Premier League or the Champions League crown will be immeasurably more difficult.

Therefore we can safely say that this semi-final is now crucial and there is no space for experimenting. Our best team is comfortably better than Citeh’s so if we play them we are clear favourites to advance to the final. It might be worth playing the team that outplayed Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as a trio of Carrick, Fletcher and Anderson should have no trouble with controlling City’s midfield and support Wayne Rooney up front, with Valencia and either Giggs or Park attacking the wide areas.

It’s up to Fergie of course but with our confidence dented, a good result at Citeh would be a welcome boost ahead of such trying Premiership fixtures as Birmingham City away and Arsenal away. It would restore our pride and self-belief just in time.