Manchester United take on Middlesbrough tonight in the last 16 of the Capital One Cup. With Arsenal and Chelsea suffering defeat last night United are one of the few “big” clubs left in the competition and Van Gaal could well see this as being a route for a first trophy for United since the end of the Fergie era.
As Schneiderlin said on MUTV, “Man United should try to win everything, and that’s what we’re aiming to do. You saw when we played Ipswich that we were very serious about the competition, and we want to carry that on against Middlesbrough, who are a good team. They were close to being back in the Premier League last season so it will be a hard game and we have prepared as seriously as possible.”
The Old Trafford faithful will want to see a convincing performance from their team, after the goalless draw at the weekend. United will undoubtedly make changes, and we could see Depay back into the starting lineup. It will be interesting to see if Rooney features tonight, after receiving heavy criticism from pundits and fans alike following the Manchester derby. Many were quick to point the finger at the captain for an abject performance, and his desire and ability are being questioned.
Rooney will want to answer those critics and a commanding display in the game tonight will be an ideal start before facing Palace on Saturday. Middlesbrough are currently fourth in the Championship and are hoping to return to the Premier League after they were relegated in 2009. They have been performing well under the stewardship of former Real Madrid defender Aitor Karanka, and this clash affords the players to get a taster of what is on offer if they were to gain promotion.
United will, therefore, need to ensure they do not take the opposition for granted as the result is by no means a forgone conclusion.