… at reserve team level that is, with Manchester United’s second string overcoming cross-town neighbours 3-1 in the Manchester Senior Cup. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side sported six internationals and a similar number of Under-21s in arguably the strongest reserve outfit in memory, including returning Brazilian midfielder Anderson.
Federico Macheda struck twice and Tom Cleverley scored United’s other goal as the Reds eased to victory in the first derby of the season, against Manchester City’s preposterously named “Elite Development Squad”. The work of Gary Cook, no doubt.
The presence of so many internationals helped of course, with Anderson and Rafael da Silva each featuring for an hour, while Michael Carrick, Gary Neville, Wes Brown, Chris Smalling and Darron Gibson all played at Hyde United’s Ewen Fields.
One notable scorer, Cleverley, continues to have high hopes for the season despite not featuring in either of United’s Premier League games to date this season.
“All I can do is keep playing to my top performance level when I play, whether it’s for the Reserves or the first team,” he told MUTV tonight.
“As long as I keep doing that, hopefully the manager will see I’m doing well and I’ll get a couple of chances here and there.”
“Any game against City is a big one, but in our squad tonight I think we had six internationals and six under-21 internationals or something silly like that, so there was added pressure there,” he said. “It was one of the strongest Reserve teams ever.
“We didn’t start badly, then they got the goal and we lost our momentum a little bit. But we got one in the first half, kicked on in the second, got a couple of good goals, and it’s a good victory.”
Meanwhile, striker Mame Biram Diouf scored a hat-trick on his full Blackburn Rovers debut against Norwich City in the Carling Cup last night. The Senegalese player has made two substitute appearances for Rovers in the Premier League.
United reserves: Amos; Neville, Smalling, Brown, Rafael (Dudgeon 60); Gibson, Carrick (Gill 73), Anderson (W Keane 60); Eikrem, Cleverley; Macheda. Subs not used: Devlin, Norwood.