A strong Manchester United Reserves side was deployed at Moss Lane during their 3-1 defeat of Aston Villa's Reserves. Prior to the match, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealed that he wanted to give a number of first-team players a run-out in this match. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Fabio, and Tom Cleverley went the full 90 minutes while recent first-teamer Paul Pogba started and was substituted off in the 61st minute. Here is Fergie's reasoning for wanting these players to feature in this match:
"It’s the first time in quite a while that we’ve got a break and it can be useful. I think one or two players probably need a break but not the likes of Tom Cleverley, who is recently back from injury and is probably going to relish a game in midweek. So I’m going to play Cleverley in the Reserves on Thursday. Fabio and Jones too. Paul Pogba will get half a game and maybe Chris Smalling will have a half. They need a game - Jones missed a bit of football, Fabio and Pogba have not had a lot and Cleverley is just back. So they will probably all have a bit of a game on Thursday."
- Ferguson | Source: ManUtd.com
The opening goal occurred in the 9th minute when Fabio sent a cross in from near the left touchline and striker Will Keane finished with a header. Just over a minute later, Ritchie De Laet sent in another cross and this time it was Jesse Lingard that brilliantly finished with a volley. Daniel Johnson pulled one back in the 49th minute for the visitors but Chris Smalling gave United a two-goal cushion again in the 59th minute when he headed from a Tom Cleverley corner. The 3-1 scoreline held for the home side.
United: Will Johnstone; Richie De Laet, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Fabio; Paul Pogba [Ryan Tunnicliffe 61'], Matthew James [Michael Keane 72'], Tom Cleverley, Davide Petrucci, Jesse Lingard [Marnick Vermijl 78']; Will Keane