Man United humbled in League Cup by 3rd tier Dons

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(AP) — In just his third match in charge of Manchester United, Louis
van Gaal oversaw one of the most humiliating losses in the club’s
illustrious history on Tuesday.

The record 20-time English
champions timidly capitulated to MK Dons, losing 4-0 to the third-tier
club in the second round of the League Cup.

Hired to halt the
decline under David Moyes in the post-Alex Ferguson era, Van Gaal had
already endured a loss and a draw in his first two Premier League
matches before one of three possible routes to silverware ended in
Milton Keynes.

A second-string United was playing in the League
Cup second round for the first time since 1995 because Moyes failed to
qualify for Europe during his only season in charge. He was replaced by
the coach who led the Netherlands to third place at the World Cup.

Van Gaal made 10 changes from the team that drew at Sunderland, several
international players including Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez and
Shinji Kagawa were deployed.

Van Gaal kept his cool in public
after the game and did not tear into his team’s performance, despite
poor defending that gifted goals to the Dons and the fact that United
needed around 70 minutes to manage a shot on target.

“We didn’t
have the luck to score but at least we have created a lot of chances,”
Van Gaal said. “You don’t have to forget we have nine injuries and we
had a very young team, I have seen them trying to their utmost best. You
can’t expect more of the players.”

Van Gaal urged fans to trust
him to turn around the fortunes of a team that won the Premier League by
11 points in 2013 before Ferguson retired after more than 26 years in

“(Supporters) have to believe in our philosophy,” Van Gaal
said. “We are building up a team and you can’t make in one month not in
one year of course. It’s very disappointing but I hope they shall
maintain their confidence in the club and in our philosophy because that
philosophy takes time.”

A United side featuring David Beckham
lost 3-0 to third tier side York at this stage in 1995, going out of the
then two-legged second round 4-3 on aggregate.

Nineteen years on,
the humbling result took the gloss off United’s pre-match announcement
that it had broken the British transfer record by signing Angel Di Maria
from Real Madrid for 59.7 million pounds ($99 million). With a summer
spending spree that has now hit $215 million, Van Gaal will be expected
to quickly restore United to the elite of English football and ensure
that Tuesday’s result becomes a long-forgotten blip.

“You have to analyze the problem and then you have to take your matches,” Van Gaal said. “We know exactly what we are doing.”

Afobe, a striker on loan from Arsenal, and Will Grigg were gifted the
openings to each score twice on a memorable night for the Dons, which
was originally Wimbledon FC. The 1988 FA Cup winners as Wimbledon
controversially uprooted 90 kilometers (56 miles) from south London to
Milton Keynes, a large commuter town north of the capital, and was
renamed a decade ago.

“I’m a little bit shocked to be walking off
and seeing the score line,” Dons manager Karl Robinson said. “It’s
ridiculous. It’s something that dreams are made of for these players. We
work hard here and you’ve seen a youthful energy in the team … this
is a game for Milton Keynes as a city.”

United wasn’t the only
Premier League to be beaten by lower-league opposition, with misery also
for West Ham and topflight newcomers Burnley and Leicester.

Sheffield Wednesday of the second tier won 1-0 at Burnley, while Leicester went down 1-0 at home to fourth-tier side Shrewsbury.

signing Enner Valencia missed a penalty for West Ham as the London club
lost a shootout 5-4 to Sheffield United of the third tier.

Bromwich Albion narrowly avoided a similarly embarrassing shootout exit
by beating Oxford 7-6 after a 1-1 draw in normal time. Jack Cork and
Graziano Pelle scored their first goals for Southampton in a 2-0 victory
at Millwall, while Newcastle beat Gillingham 1-0.

Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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