Manchester United traveled to Elland Road on Tuesday to battle with an old foe, Leeds United. The vociferous crowd made it a hostile environment for the away side but it should be noted that the away supporters clearly made their voices heard as well -- it was a grand environment for the occasion. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made some interesting selections, most notably Zeki Fryers for his senior debut at center-back and Antonio Valencia at right-back. The Reds got off to a positive start when Michael Owen scuffed, but accurately aimed a left-footed strike to the far-post for the opening goal. The striker got his second goal when he arrowed a right-footed blast to the far post. Near the end of the opening half, the ageless Ryan Giggs once again displayed his class when he skinned his defender and used the outside of his left-boot to poke home United's third goal. The second half saw Fergie's side close the match for a 3-0 away victory -- but before the final whistle blew, Paul Pogba and Larnell Cole were brought in to make their senior debuts as well. Things got quite bizarre when Fryers exited the match late due to a knock and Dimitar Berbatov moved to center-back! With the victory, the Reds have marched on to Round 4 of the Carling Cup. The draw for that round will occur on Saturday. After the jump, see the highlights from the match along with post-match quotes from Fergie and Owen.
(for United States' viewers)
(for worldwide viewers courtesy of www.Footytube.com)
Sir Alex Ferguson | Manchester United manager (courtesy of Sky Sports)
(On the senior debuts of the three youngsters...) "They did well. I thought young Fryers did very well and showed good composure. He wasn’t fazed by it, which was really good because you always want to see what their temperament’s like. The atmosphere here, as you know, is hostile and he coped with it very well. The first half was a tremendous performance by us. Our movement off the ball and possession of the ball was very good. In the second half, in fairness to Leeds they kept trying and showed a very determined attitude. They never gave in and we just wanted to make sure we were through. Paul Pogba came on at half-time and had a good 45, young Larnell Cole came on at the end, which was very good for him. He’s a very young under-18s player, he’s the youngest of the players coming on so it was good for them to get a taste of the atmosphere and a taste of what the first team’s like."
Michael Owen | Manchester United striker (courtesy of Sky Sports)
(On the youngsters debuts...) "t’s lovely to get their careers underway. Zeki starting the game was big for him and it was great the way it panned out in terms of how we were playing in the first half. He must have felt right at home straight away, and fair play to him, I thought he was fantastic. He put in a great performance and he should be delighted with himself."
(On Berbatov playing center-back...) "He does it all the time in training, so we know he’s capable of it," revealed Michael. "He thinks he can play centre half, so he was probably first to lift his hand when we lost Zeki. It was no surprise to see Berba at the back!"
(On getting a chance to finally play...) "The pressure’s on. You don’t get many chances and when you do get a chance, you have to perform because it’s going to be a couple of months before you see a pitch again. It’s nice to prove to yourself and everyone that you can still contribute, still play well. We’re coming into a good part of the season now, with the games coming thick and fast so hopefully the games will be shared round a bit."
(On his brace...) "One was a bit of a mishit, one as sweet as I hit them, really," he conceded. "They were quite contrasting. It’s always nice to score, obviously, that’s what my game has been about all over the years. I also try to contribute in other areas as well and I was pleased to get the goals."
(On his role with United at this stage of his career...) "At 31 I’ve still got a few years left in me. There are different roles you have throughout your career, and at the minute I’m doing that. I’m comfortable and trying to be a bit of an example to young kids to help them through."