United’s Under-18s ended a three-match losing streak in the league with an emphatic 6-1 mini-derby win over Manchester City at Carrington. Midfielder Larnell Cole grabbed a hat-trick, adding to strikes from defender Sean McGinty, Jesse Lingard and Tom Lawrence.
There were four changes to the team that beat Newcastle 1-0 in Wednesday's FA Youth Cup tie, but three of the remaining seven were deployed in different positions. Cole shifted infield alongside Charni Ekangamene to replace Paul Pogba and Ryan Tunnicliffe - both called into the first-team squad to face Crawley. Left-back Tyler Blackett moved to left wing, and with Will Keane and John Cofie still out through injury, Lingard swapped the wing for a support striker role behind acting front man Gyliano van Velzen.
The ex-Ajax youngster was involved in the opener on 17 minutes when left-back McGinty fired a speculative cross towards him; van Velzen missed the ball but turned to see it nestling inside the far post anyway - McGinty's fifth goal of the season.
City had spells of pressure but United, well marshalled at the back by Tom Thorpe, were clinical in front of goal. And on 36 minutes the Reds doubled the lead. Van Velzen headed Alberto Massacci's right-wing cross against the bar. Lingard was denied with a headed rebound before eventually steering the ball home. Within eight minutes Cole made it 3-0 with a deflected volley in keeping with the rest of the game – an evenly-matched balance of play, with United taking full advantage of any openings.
Paul McGuinness’s team were even more dangerous after the restart as a Lingard shot was cleared off the line and Tom Lawrence went close after good wing-play from van Velzen. But on 53 minutes the fourth goal - the best of the lot - finally arrived. Cole received a pass 25 yards from goal and brilliantly turned his man before surging into the box, where he curled a shot into the far corner.
United were high on confidence while City just looked deflated. Lawrence, denied earlier, got a rampant Reds’ fifth of