League Cup

League Cup

Inaugurated in 1960, the Football League Cup has been won by Manchester United on six occasions - in 1992, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2017 and 2023.

United would probably rather forget the team's first match in the competition. On 2 November 1960, the Reds lost 2-1 in the second round to Third Division Bradford City. The club had to wait until 1983 for a first appearance in a final when the opponents that day were Liverpool. A young Norman Whiteside, only 17 years of age at the time, gave United the lead but Liverpool came back to win in extra time.

Undoubtedly the club's golden period in the competition came in the early 1990s when United reached three finals in four years. On the way to the 1991 final - which the Reds lost to Ron Atkinson’s Sheffield Wednesday - Sir Alex Ferguson's young side demolished league champions Arsenal 6-2 at Highbury. In 1992, United reached Wembley again and won the competition for the first time, beating Nottingham Forest 1-0 thanks to a goal from Brian McClair.

The Reds' next final appearance, in 1994, ended in a 3-1 defeat to Ron Atkinson's Aston Villa. Victory would have ultimately given the club the domestic ‘Treble’ as the side would go on to win the Premier League and FA Cup later that year.

United lost to Liverpool in the 2003 final but a mix of young and senior players was sufficient to see us past Barnet, West Brom and Birmingham in the early rounds of the triumphant 2005/06 campaign. Sir Alex Ferguson then beefed up his side with more first-team regulars for the two-legged semi-final against Blackburn and then the final against Wigan in Cardiff. Goals from Wayne Rooney (2), Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo ensured United did not finish a difficult season empty-handed.

Three years later, plenty of the players who had their first taste of silverware against the Latics were now much-decorated, but there were still a number of youngsters involved as the Reds swept to Wembley at the expense of Middlesbrough, QPR, Blackburn and Derby. Tottenham awaited in the final and, after a tense 120 minutes failed to produce a goal, a penalty shootout was required to give United the trophy. Ryan Giggs, Carlos Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo and Anderson all scored, while only Vedran Corluka could find a route past Reds keeper Ben Foster, handing United a 4-1 shootout win.

In 2009/10, United became the first club since Nottingham Forest 20 years earlier to retain the cup. The Reds started the campaign with a home win over Wolves (1-0) and then beat Barnsley away (2-0) and Tottenham (2-0) at Old Trafford to tee up an all-Manchester semi-final against local rivals City. The Blues won the first leg at the Etihad 2-1 but an electric atmosphere for the return match helped the Reds to win 3-1 on the night and go through 4-3 on aggregate. Aston Villa took the lead in the Wembley final after just five minutes, when James Milner converted a penalty conceded by Nemanja Vidic. But an equaliser from Michael Owen and a second-half header from Wayne Rooney ensured the silverware would stay in United's trophy room for another 12 months.

After a gap of seven years, the Reds won the League Cup for a fifth time. Now under the name of the EFL Cup, the competition pitted Jose Mourinho's new team against Northampton Town (3-1 away), Manchester City (1-0 home), West Ham (4-1 home) and Hull City (2-0 home, 1-2 away) before the final showdown with Southampton at Wembley Stadium. The showpiece event on 26 February 2017 was an enthralling affair as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jesse Lingard fired the Reds into a seemingly commanding 2-0 lead, only for the Saints' Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini to score either side of the break to level the score at 2-2. Just when the game seemed to be heading to extra-time, Ibrahimovic headed home Ander Herrera's cross to seal a famous 3-2 victory and make Mourinho the first United manager to win a major trophy in his first season at the club.

A six-year trophy drought was ended in February 2023, as the Reds beat Newcastle 2-0 at Wembley to secure the first piece of silverware under Erik ten Hag. The Reds had seen off Aston Villa (4-2), Burnley (2-0) and Charlton Athletic (3-0), all at Old Trafford, before convincingly defeating Nottingham Forest 5-0 on aggregate in the two-legged semi-final. The two Uniteds packed out the national stadium and two goals in six first-half minutes - the first a header from Casemiro, the second a deflected Marcus Rashford effort - were ultimately enough to see us claim glory.