There will be no dream Carling Cup semi-final match-up for Manchester United fans with Man City or Liverpool as United were unceremoniously bounced from the cup tonight by Crystal Palace 2-1 at Old Trafford after extra time. This was not a case of United battering Palace for 120 minutes and them escaping. Palace played well and deserved to win!
If you have been watching United play for the last month or so, tonight’s result is not that surprising. United have been struggling to score goals and create chances, but have managed to win games 1-0 to keep in touch of league leaders City. But at some point it had to catch up with United and tonight it did.
I go back to the United that played in the preseason and the early part of the season. The side that beat Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea apart. United then had a swashbuckling aspect to their player, where they said, we will simply outscore you.
That attitude saw United lose 3 at home to Basel and 6 to City in the derby and Fergie pulled in the reins. Instead of beating teams 3-1 or 4-2, United were winning 1-0. The pendulum had swung to far to the conservative side and suddenly United are having trouble scoring.
United was so poor tonight that Sir Alex Ferguson felt he had to apologize to United fans for the teams performance:
“I don’t know where to start to be honest. My apologies go to our fans tonight because that was not a Manchester United performance,” he told MUTV. “We maybe played too many short passes, but I’m not going to dwell on it and go into the ins and outs of it all.
“When it went to extra-time I thought we must win it, but it wasn’t to be. Their second goal was offside from what I’ve seen on the cameras, but I can’t take it away from Crystal Palace, they fought hard to get the result and they deserve it. It’s a very disappointing night for Manchester United.”