MANCHESTER: Manchester United kept the critics at bay as they cruised into the League Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
United boss Erik ten Hag and his players have been under fire after a disappointing start to the season.
But, following Saturday’s narrow Premier League victory at Burnley, they secured a second successive win to ease the pressure at least a little.
Alejandro Garnacho put them ahead in the first half and Casemiro doubled the lead before the interval, with Anthony Martial sealing the victory after the break.
While Ten Hag’s side cruised comfortably through at Old Trafford, Premier League Wolverhampton Wanderers and Luton Town were knocked out by lower-division opponents.
Wolves went 2-0 up and then lost 3-2 at Championship (second tier) high-flyers Ipswich Town while Premier League newcomers Luton were beaten 1-0 at League One (third tier) side Exeter City.
Exeter held on with 10 men after Demetri Mitchell was sent off for a second yellow five minutes after scoring his 83rd minute goal.
Vincent Kompany’s Burnley, without a win in the Premier League so far this season, overran League Two (fourth tier) opponents Salford City 4-0 with a second-string team.
When United lifted the League Cup in February to end a six-year trophy drought, it was seen as the start of a new era of success at Old Trafford.
Instead, United have been engulfed by a series of problems on and off the pitch.
Having lost three of their first five league games to severely damage their title hopes, Ten Hag was under mounting scrutiny until the last four days offered a ray of hope.
“It is a good night. I think we played quite well and we dominated the game. That was what we were looking for,” Ten Hag said after his gamble to make seven changes paid off. “We made a step forward at Burnley with how we defend and today, on the ball, we make another step. There is still a lot to come.”
Championship side Middlesbrough won 2-0 at League Two Bradford City and League Two Mansfield Town beat League One Peterborough United 3-1 on penalties after the game ended level at 2-2.
The league’s bottom club Sutton United lost 2-1 at League One Port Vale.
Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2023