us that they did that. So I thought they handled it quite well.”
Debuts were also handed to Robbie Brady and the club's former young player of the year Ryan Tunnicliffe, whose father quite brilliantly cashed in on a decade-long bet that his then nine-year-old son would play for the Reds, earning a cool £10,000.
Captain for the night Darren Fletcher completed his first full 90 minutes in 10 months, marshalling a receptive back four. In the context, his return was low key but one of gargantuan importance following a spell filled with doubt.
“The most important thing, despite all these things like me coming back and being captain, was for us to win the game,” said a typically professional Fletcher after the match.
The Scot even nabbed himself an assist as his midfield partner Anderson, also reaping the benefits of Sir Alex’s rotation policy, bagged his first goal in just under a year with a glorious left-footed finish in the 44th minute to highlight a powerful and encouraging display.
Of the 11 players who finished Wednesday’s match, seven were graduates of the youth system - a statistic that defines Sir Alex’s League Cup philosophy and his tenure at the club. With a fourth-round trip to Chelsea scheduled, his attitude will not change.
“The name of the game here is to win football matches. Tonight we've given a lot of youngsters and squad players a game. If we progress, they will be involved.”