Sir Alex Ferguson has defended his policy of using younger players in the Carling Cup. The United manager, who has deployed young and fringe players in the competition for more than a decade, is often criticised for not taking the competition seriously. United has won the competition twice in the last four seasons using the policy in earlier rounds.
“It’s always being said that the Carling Cup is not my first priority. But that’s misleading,” said Ferguson.
“While obviously you don’t quite rank it alongside the Premier League or Champions League, I certainly regard it as an extremely valuable tool in our club’s strategy.
“I won’t have it lightly dismissed, because over the years the Carling Cup has served United as an important component in the development of our playing squad.
“It enables me to put some of the younger players into the team alongside more established stars, to see how they react and blend.
“The competition is a stepping stone that has helped groom so many of our emerging players for the serious business of Premier League football.”
Or to translate… “The Carling Cup is not my first priority.”