Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen pressed their claims by making the most of rare starts with goals in the first half before Antonio Valencia’s outstanding long-range drive ended the match as a contest. A mixture of youth and experience accounted for the Shots as easily as Leeds had been disposed of in the previous round to illustrate the strength in depth at the manager’s disposal.
The Reds quickly slipped into gear with Tom Cleverley firing over the bar on his return from injury when Berbatov touched a Mame Biram Diouf header back to him. Nemanja Vidic picked up a yellow card for a clumsy foul on Alex Rodman but United were soon ahead after quarter of an hour.
In his post match interview Michael Owen said “Although no-one here started at the weekend you still have Manchester United’s reputation to look after. So whatever side was put out we wanted to bounce back and thankfully we got the win. Sometimes you need a kick in the teeth to get going and it was a big kick in the teeth, as everybody knows, and we were eager to bounce back."
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