LONDON: With their Premier League title defence in tatters, Manchester United approach the second leg of their League Cup semi-final against Sunderland on Wednesday conscious that it could define their domestic season.
Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Chelsea left David Moyes’s side 14 points off the pace in the league and having been knocked out of the FA Cup by Swansea City, United need success in the League Cup like never before.
It is a competition that United occasionally treated with disdain under Moyes’s predecessor, Alex Ferguson, but the new manager knows that he cannot afford to pick and choose when the club’s fans are in the doldrums.
“We will try and do everything we can to get through,” Moyes told MUTV.
“I want to give the supporters something to cheer about. There has not been an awful lot. I am fully aware of that.”
However, in order to book a likely final date with Manchester City, United must overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg.
United have lost four of their five games to date at the Stadium of Light in 2014, and midfielder Michael Carrick says that the players are desperate to get back to winning ways.
“Wednesday is a big game,” he said. “It is an opportunity to get to a final. You can’t take that lightly.”
United weigh up record bid for Mata
United seem to be lining up a club record £37m bid for Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata, according to the Daily Telegraph.
While United club sources denied a deal had been put forward, it is believed to have been discussed and that Chelsea are willing to let the midfielder go if the price is right.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2014.