When Sir Alex Ferguson marched his young team out at Old Trafford, to face Crystal Palace in the quarter final of the Carling Cup he would have been brimming with confidence. Of course the team was shorn of the likes of Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic and Javier Chicharito Hernandez, but it did boast many promising young prospects and fringe players eager to impress the wily old Scotsman. With each player given a chance to play his way into Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans for future Man United fixtures, much was at stake for the men selected. It is therefore quite understandable when Fergie looked on in shock and amazement as Man United simply failed to turn up.
Much has been made of the young center midfielders Paul Pogba and Ravel Morrison, but on a night when United needed strength in a tackle or a spark of creative genius, both failed to provide either. The Da Silva twins continue to be a source of frustration as well. The little Brazilians attack well enough but are constantly caught out of position on the defensive end, which often results in their being force to make rash challenges. And if their “defending” was not irritating enough, they continue to show an unhealthy attraction for the injury room. Both twins went off with knocks and it is a telltale sign that the Man United defending improved dramatically with their departure.
The goals which downed the Red Devils came from two Crystal Palace substitutes – Darren Ambrose and Glenn Murray. Ambrose scored a screamer from fully 35 yards that Ben Amos could do nothing about. Man United found an equalizer from Federico Macheda as he tucked away a penalty to send the match into extra time. More drama awaited the home crowd however as Glenn Murray scored the winner goal from what appeared to be an offside position. Even facing elimination, the Man United players could not lift themselves and continued to struggle to open up a stubborn Palace defense. It was the type of fixture to make Man United fans groan in frustration as the team seemingly went down and out, without even a fight.