Tonight’s Capital One Cup clash against Newcastle United at Old Trafford will, once again, allow Sir Alex Ferguson to give a number of players some important game-time, but assistant manager Mike Phelan insists a successful League Cup campaign is high on the club's agenda.
The Reds have gone out of the competition at the fifth-round stage in the last two seasons having won the trophy back-to-back in the two previous seasons.
Phelan confirmed there will be changes this evening – for example, both Darren Fletcher and Nick Powell will feature – but with the quality and size of United’s squad he insists there are plenty of players capable of coming in and putting on a good display.
“We've got options and we have to make sure this game helps us involve other players as well as the ones who have been playing in the last five or six games,” he told ManUtd.com. “It's important we give them the opportunity to perform.
“We've got a good mix of youth and experience and we want to make sure we perform and the players involved show their abilities and what they can offer.
“The manager has always seen these games as an opportunity to look at individuals' progress, to see where some players are at and if they're capable of being part of a long season. The hardest part is giving them the competitiveness and the games in order to prove that. You don’t just want one game, either – you want more than one. And hopefully this cup competition offers us that.
“I don't know what Newcastle will do [in terms of team selection], but over the past year or two, teams in general have started to look at this competition as an opportunity, not just to blood one or two youngsters, but to chase the cup and try and win it. There's a trophy at the end of it for someone, and we always set out to win every competition we’re involved in.”