MANCHESTER UNITED 3, IPSWICH TOWN 0
Louis van Gaal avoided another Capital One Cup banana skin following Manchester United’s emphatic victory against Ipswich Town.
After last season’s humiliation at Milton Keynes Dons in van Gaal’s debut in the competition, the Reds’ manager didn’t take the tie against the Championship club lightly.
Van Gaal fielded a far stronger side than the one which was beaten 4-0 at stadium:mk as he clearly has eyes on this piece of silverware.
Goals from Wayne Rooney, Andreas Pereira and Anthony Martial sealed victory as United with little difficulty.
While most of United’s big hitters were in action, it was one of the lesser lights who stole the show as Brazilian under-20 international Pereira produced an eye-catching display on his full debut for the Reds.
The Belgium-born Pereira, making only his third senior appearance, looked as though he had been in the team for years with a confident and assured display.
Van Gaal was a contented man saying: “The result was great, we have no injuries, I brought in players, rotated players. Phil Jones played a lot of minutes, I am a happy coach.”
United manager would not be drawn on Pereira’s dazzling display saying the game has to be evaluated and not individual players, though his performance will be scrutinised as part of that.
Van Gaal added that he likes Pereira as he is “multi functional” as he can play No 7, 11 and 10 but pointed out he has competition from the likes of Memphis Depay, Ander Herrera, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, Marouane Fellaini and Rooney who are able to play in various positions.
He was also quizzed about keeping the feet of 19-year-old Martial on the ground after his goalscoring exploits, but described him as a “modest” person.
United made five changes from the side that won at Southampton on Sunday as there were call ups for Young, Herrera, Valencia, Fellaini and Pereira.
Martial, Depay, Michael Carrick and Matteo Darmian dropped down to the bench while Marcos Rojo was ruled out through injury.
The United side was also significantly stronger than their line up at Milton Keynes Dons where van Gaal suffered a hefty defeat last season. Indeed, David De Gea was the only starter from that side to kick off this third-round tie.
Ipswich, fifth in the Championship, changed the whole of their starting line up that faced Birmingham City on Friday which underlined how seriously they view the competition.
Pereira was keen to make the most of his rare appearance. He struck the upright in the second minute only to be flagged for offside and then forced a diving save from keeper Bartosz Bialkowski.
United also had appeals for a penalty after Valencia’s ball into the box struck the hand of Giles Coke in what was a lively start.
The breakthrough came midway through the opening period and was route one as Rooney ran on to Daley Blind’s long punt forward and brushed past Piotr Malarczyk before firing low past Bialkowski for his fourth goal of the season for the Reds.
The only sniff at goal Ipswich had in the opening came in stoppage time from Tommy Oar as his shot from the right flashed past the far upright.
Ipswich began the second period as they ended the first – brightly – as David McGoldrick headed wide and then whipped a delightful ball across the box, but none of his team-mates was able to get on the end of it.
United gradually began to reassert their presence as Valencia tested the agility of Bialkowski who was beaten again on the hour.
Kevin Bru tripped Juan Mata just outside the box and up stepped Pereira who curled the free kick over the defensive wall to leave the Ipswich keeper rooted to the spot as he scored his first goal for the Reds in his first start and only his third appearance for the club and only 108 minutes of first-team football.
Mata then forced Bialkowski to spectacularly turn over his drive and substitute Martial fired wide following Rooney’s excellent lay off.
Pereira came close to scoring a second and United’s third when his shot was blocked by the legs of Bialkowski following a cut back by Valencia.
United added a third goal in stoppage time as Martial scored his fourth in only four appearances.
Bastian Schweinsteiger’s long forward pass was touched on by Depay into the path of the Frenchman who slotted a shot low to the left of Bialkowski for the perfect finish to what was a routine victory.