Date: 26th October 2006 at 2:03pm
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I love the Carling Cup. No, really. It’s really good to win but if we crash out, I can say, ‘Who cares?’. So I was perfectly relaxed before the Crewe game on Wednesday and it seems the players were thinking along the same lines as they produced a poor performance despite the presence of a bunch of experienced players. At the end, we needed Kieran Lee’s cool finish in the 119th minute to survive and Fergie admitted United were lucky to scrape through while praised our match-winner teenager unreservedly.

‘Without question, Kieran is a good player,’ Ferguson said.

‘He has good ability; all he needs is time to develop.

‘He showed great awareness to make the run for the goal and it saved me from embarrassment because I never win penalty shoot-outs.

‘Maybe some of the older boys found it difficult to get motivated and I also have to take into consideration Gabriel Heinze needs games and Mikael Silvestre is only just back from injury, but it was a really disappointing performance.’

‘I think we used up a bit of luck tonight. Credit to Crewe, I think they were the better team. They created many chances, and we missed some ourselves.’

‘It was a pretty open game and I thought it was played at a great pace, with a lot of energy spent in the game.’

‘We were a bit careless in the whole performance. Right from the start we gave Crewe a foot in the game and we shouldn’t be allowing them to do that.’

Pretty much the same can be expected when United visit Southend on 7/8 November but really, that’s why I love the Carling Cup: we don’t necessarily have to be embarassed (not very much, at worst) even after a really stinking performance, due to the relative lack of prestige of the competition. But victories are still there to savour, no matter that we were being outplayed by a League One team.