London:After Manchester United's shocking loss at home to Leeds in the FA Cup, manager Alex Ferguson is out to avoid another embarrassing defeat when it meets neighbor Manchester City in a League Cup semifinal and is set to drop some of his underperforming stars.
Ferguson was angry that his team did not match the workrate or fighting spirit of third tier Leeds at Old Trafford on Sunday when United lost 1-0.
"You have to bounce back, get it out of your system," said Ferguson, who now comes up against new City manager Roberto Mancini at the City of Manchester Stadium on Wednesday in the first leg of the semifinal.
"We have a semifinal on Wednesday now and a lot of these players won't be playing. I had the team in mind but there may be changes now, I was shocked by the performance."
It was the first time since 1984 _ two years before Ferguson arrived at the club _ that United had gone out of the competition so early.
Ferguson will be able to recall the likes of Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes to the starting lineup. But City has a chance to take advantage of its neighbor's defensive frailties to open up a healthy lead in the first leg before they meet again at Old Trafford Jan. 19.
Ferguson had to make a late change to his starting lineup Sunday when central defender Nemanja Vidic was injured in the warmup. That means the Serb, who has played a vital role in United's recent successes, will be doubtful for a semifinal in which Mancini has several striking options to test the United defense.
City had a routine 1-0 victory at League Championship club Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Saturday with one of the backup strikers, Benjani Mwaruwari, scoring the goal. Benjani may only just make the bench on Wednesday with Mancini likely to field Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz or Craig Bellamy in attack.
In Tuesday's semifinal, Blackburn hosts Aston Villa in a repeat of Saturday's FA Cup meeting which Villa won 3-1.
Villa has won the League Cup five times _ second only to Liverpool's seven _ and looks strong enough to handle Blackburn again over two legs. Blackburn will also be without striker El-Hadji Diouf, who was sent off in Saturday's game for an ugly foul on Senegalese countryman Habib Beye, but Brett Emerton could return from injury.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill is likely to strengthen his team by recalling goalkeeper Brad Friedel, defender Richard Dunne, midfielder James Milner and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, who were all left out of the starting lineup on Saturday.
In Premier League action, Stoke hosts Fulham on Tuesday and Arsenal aims to leapfrog Manchester United and move within a point of leader Chelsea by beating Bolton on Wednesday.