In Depth

#OleOut: Man Utd fans call for Solskjaer sacking after humiliation by Man City

It was agony for the Red Devils as City ran riot in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford

Carabao Cup semi-final first leg Manchester United 1 Manchester City 3 

Manchester City silenced their noisy neighbours in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final after a dominant performance at Old Trafford. 

The match was as good as over at half-time with City going into the break with a three-goal lead, and although United pulled a goal back in the second period it was of scant consolation to the home fans.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted the feeble first half showing was the “worst we have played this season”, and barring an extraordinary turn of events in the second leg City will progress to the Wembley final. 

The winners of the Manchester derby semi-final tie will face Leicester City or Aston Villa in the final. Leicester host Villa in tonight’s other semi-final first leg (8pm, live on Sky Sports).

Mountain to climb

Solskjaer’s future at Old Trafford is once again in the spotlight and fans reacted to last night’s display by calling for the Norwegian’s sacking.

After the match he admitted that his team have a “steep mountain to climb” if they are to beat their rivals and reach the final on 1 March.

He said: “From the first goal until half-time we just couldn’t cope with the setback, we were running in between, we let them play, our heads dropped, made decisions we shouldn’t do and that needed sorting at half-time.”

The Daily Mail reports that Solskjaer questioned the pride of his players after the feeble first-half capitulation.

He said: “The first half, from their first goal, was the worst we’ve played. Pride is a word you speak about at half-time.

“It’s natural that your head goes down but we have to get back into the mentality quicker. It can’t be me at half-time.”

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Man City midfielder Bernardo Silva scored a superb goal at Old Trafford against Man Utd

Pep pleased 

Marcus Rashford’s goal on 70 minutes has given United a glimmer of hope but City remain on course to win their third consecutive League Cup.

Goals from Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal by Andreas Pereira gave the visitors their half-time cushion and manager Pep Guardiola expressed his satisfaction with the performance, despite their failure to score after the break. 

“We played good in the first half,” said the Spaniard. “You cannot expect to come here and score four or five goals in 45 minutes, but 0-3 is good enough.”

If anything, Guardiola seemed pleased that United pulled a goal back, a reminder to his players that complacency could be their trickiest opponent in the return fixture. 

He added: “It was a good result for us but I take note about what happened in the second half for the second leg in three weeks.”

The second leg takes place on Wednesday 29 January at the Etihad Stadium (7.45pm, live on Sky Sports).

Reactions to Man Utd’s feeble first leg

David McDonnell, Daily Mirror

“United have spent close to £1bn on players since Sir Alex Ferguson retired seven years ago, but are further away than ever from reclaiming their status as the country’s dominant football force.”

Henry Winter, The Times

“This was humiliating for United. Fans will whisper their relief that it could have been worse, but that first half needs watching by the Glazer family to understand fully the importance of long-term strategic planning and proper recruitment as City, and Liverpool, do.”

Adam Bates, Sky Sports

“United conceded three goals in the first half for the first time here in 22 years. The gulf between the two teams was obvious to everyone… and it made for a frustrating sight for the home support.”

Chris Bevan, BBC Sport

“Solskjaer’s side are, somehow, still alive in the tie but this game should be seen as a reminder of how urgently United need reinforcements this month, even if they are more expensive than the club’s owners would like.”

#OleOut: how United fans reacted on Twitter

Today’s back pages

Ben Stokes is England’s superhero and it’s blue murder at Old Trafford

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