Yes folks… as unbelievable as it may seem Manchester United were beaten by West Ham United in the Carling Cup quarter-final last night. But not just beaten, thrashed 4-0 by the team stuck at the foot of the Premier League… only Real Madrid can claim to have had a worse week.
Thanks to goals from former United player Jonathan Spector and the former Liverpool target Carlton Cole put paid to the defence of the Carling Cup and also ended United’s 29-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
It must be said Sir Alex Ferguson fielded a much-changed side, introducing the likes of Fabio, Chris Smalling, Bebe and Tomasz Kuszczak into the team. However from the off West Ham played to their strengths and imposed a physical style on United which the younger players seemed incapable of dealing with.
As many of us were taken aback by the defeat, the gaffer conceded the youngsters had learned a lesson, ??”I didn’t expect that, that’s for sure,” Sir Alex told MUTV. “But if you analyze why we’ve lost, the goals we’ve given away were too soft. You just can’t give goals away like that at this level.”
“They’re all young players,” he continued.
“We’ve invested in youth, we’ve done that well over the years, and they will come on from this. They will remember tonight. It’s unfortunate that it was a quarter-final of the cup and we had a good opportunity of winning it again this year.”
“Possession-wise we had had the majority of it and we had one or two half-chances and one good opportunity when Obertan’s shot was turned onto the post. That was unlucky,” added Sir Alex.
“We were in control of it early in the match and played some good football. I think what changed the game was getting the goal disallowed. It was a break for them. It got the crowd up. But the goals we conceded were poor, and some of our players were too young to carry those mistakes and still win the match.”
Maybe a tad too easy on the side, that for me, were second best throughout and never really looked like getting into the match. Before I move on to individual performances it must be said the team as whole was poor, but as many of you commented during and after the game, it was Jonny Evans whose star fell, and fell quite a distance too.
The Northern Irish centre back was horrendous. He was unsure of himself and lacked any semblance of composure his decision making let everyone down and he made Carlton Cole look like a £20 million player.
Evans does have talent but he is in the midst of a nightmare run of form, which could threaten his place in the squad if he does not turn it around.
Fabio as well was moved to the right-back position after starting on the left, but he was another who could not deal with the pace of the game and man of the match Victor Obinna, who set up all four goals, ran him ragged.
A harsh lesson indeed, but one I am positive a few of these players will learn from and grow because of.
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