Dissecting defeat

"Leeds fully deserved Sunday's win... the bandaged Kisnorbo at centre back typified the League One side’s spirit."

- Stewart Gardner, MUTV

Have your say on United’s cup exit by calling The Paddy Crerand Show, 18:30 GMT on Monday 4 January, only on MUTV.
04/01/2010 09:55, Report by Stewart Gardner
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Good for the cup, bad for us

MUTV commentator Stewart Gardner blogs exclusively for

And so it fell to United to single-handedly revitalise the FA Cup.

On Saturday, all the talk was that the famous old competition was on its last legs. The third round was totally devoid of shocks (although personally I thought it was odd that Reading didn't beat Liverpool) and games were being played in half-empty stadiums. The magic of the FA Cup was apparently a thing of the past. Well, nobody's saying that anymore.

Sadly, in injecting new life into the competition, Sir Alex's men have tortured United fans. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of being friends with a Leeds supporter then I'm sure you're getting a very hard time today. In fact, it’s probably best to turn your phone off for a day or two. Sure, it's great for the competition, but it's simply dreadful for the Reds.

The shock just goes to show how consistent United have been in the FA Cup in modern times. Incredibly, it's been 26 years since United last tasted defeat in the third round. The season after that defeat down at Bournemouth, United won the competition thanks to Norman Whiteside’s piece of extra-time brilliance. Here’s hoping United can repeat that trick next season.

What can’t be denied is that Leeds fully deserved Sunday's win. The front two of Beckford and Becchio caused our defence all sorts of problems, Johnson shone on the left and the bandaged Kisnorbo at centre back typified the League One side’s spirit. They will certainly be in the Championship next year and soon could be back at Old Trafford for a league game.

United, meanwhile, were strangely subdued. I spoke to Sir Alex after the game and I got the feeling some of the younger players and squad members who were given a game against Leeds had blown their chances of playing in the Carling Cup semi at Manchester City.

Speaking of which, it's a great game for the Reds after the shock of Sunday. A good result against City, and a couple of convincing league wins, will lessen some of the pain of our FA Cup embarrassment. Until then, try and console yourself with the thought that United have given the grand old

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