MK DONS 4, MANCHESTER UNITED 0 (CAPITAL ONE CUP, ROUND TWO)
UNITED MAKE TEN CHANGES; DE GEA, ANDERSON, EVANS, KAGAWA, HERNANDEZ AND WELBECK START; LOUIS VAN GAAL ‘NOT SHOCKED’ AT RESULT
MK Dons took full advantage of a weakened Manchester United side to thrash them at the first attempt and dump them out of the Capital One Cup with two goals apiece for Will Grigg and Benik Afobe.
Somewhere, David Moyes must be privately glad he isn’t Manchester United manager any more as the pressure increased on Louis Van Gaal who still hasn’t won a competitive game as United manager despite a kind fixture list at the start of the season. The Dutchman’s record now stands two defeats and a draw from Swansea, Sunderland, and MK Dons.
Van Gaal remained calm despite the error prone display, defending his team selection and repeating his need for more time to establish his football philosophy this season. He said:
“I am not shocked, it can happen. We have nine injuries and had to play this game 48 hours after the Sunderland game on Sunday.
“We have made the biggest errors in building up situations. When you do that you give the game away.
“We have to see what we have done and analyse our performance. We will find good things and will build up a new team.
“We won’t make it in one month and must believe in our philosophy.”
With a much-reduced fixture list this season and a kind August served up by the fixture computer there appeared to be little to trouble United, it was baffling to see the Dutchman opt to make ten changes from the side that drew with Sunderland on Sunday – leaving just David De Gea in the side for the League Cup.
Two days after taking just a point from the Stadium of Light and only a fortnight into the new season, a changed side which also contained Anderson, Jonny Evans, Shinji Kagawa (who went off in the first half with a head injury), Javier Hernandez, and Danny Welbeck were sent packing by a motivated MK Dons side.
Van Gaal continued with his three man defence despite the much changed personnel, with debuts for Saidy Janko and Reece James playing either side of Evans, but United were once again exposed by their opponents who went for the jugular.
Evans should have been the senior player in the back three but it was his mistake that allowed Ben Reeves to provide Griggs with a shot from inside the box that beat De Gea after 25 minutes.
The mistakes kept coming as United were listless and kept losing possession throughout.
Reeves provided another cross for Grigg to chest into the United goal for 2-0 after 63 minutes.
It was all over with 20 minutes to go when Reeves once again capitalised on a United error to feed Afobe, who had just replaced Grigg two minutes earlier, to put the tie out of reach of the makeshift United side.
With so much talent in the side, United should have provided more of a challenge to the League One side.
Javier Hernandez fluffed his lines when presented with two great chances to open his account this season and Dons ‘keeper David Martin kept James Wilson and Andreas Pereira out while the woodwork denied Adnan Januzaj late on.
If United thought they might stage a comeback from 3-0 down, the Dons slammed the door in their face with a fourth as time ran out.
Afobe, on loan from Arsenal, cut right through the United defence after Marnick Vermijl misjudged a long pass, going past three players, and applied the coup-de-grace against a demoralised United side six minutes from the end.
A 4-0 drubbing for United would would have been a humbling result that sent most managers back to dressing room as quickly as possible to dissect the performance on the night and apply the so-called ‘hair dryer’ if applicable.
Certainly, Louis Van Gaal is his own man. One would hardly have seen Sir Alex Ferguson coolly signing autographs, keeping jubilant Milton Keynes manager Karl Robinson waiting for a post match hand-shake, even if the Dons had just thrashed United at the first attempt upon the final whistle.
£59.7m British record signing Angel Di Maria will already be wondering what happened in the aftermath of a demoralising 4-0 thrashing at the hands of League One MK Dons in Milton Keynes.
It was their first League Cup exit at the second round stage since a 4-3 aggregate defeat against York City in 1995.
It was also United’s fourth elimination against lower league opposition in the last eight League Cup competitions but a 4-0 thrashing to Karl Robinson’s side will have hurt.
United haven’t lost so heavily since the unforgettable 6-1 thrashing at Old Trafford at the hands of Manchester City in October 2011.