Manchester United face bitter rivals Manchester City tonight looking to overturn a two-goal deficit and qualify for the EFL Cup final.
United were overrun in midfield during the first leg and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must look for a different solution at the Etihad Stadium tonight.
He doesn’t have too many options but teenage midfielder James Garner was pictured in training yesterday. Could he be worth a shot at the Etihad?
Matic struggling with injury
Nemanja Matic was taken off at half time in the 6-0 thumping of Tranmere and Solskjaer told the club website the Serbian remains a doubt for tonight.
United are already woefully short in midfield and cannot afford Matic to join the list of casualties.
In any case, his lack of mobility might be an issue against City’s livewire midfield, where Garner’s younger legs could be more useful.
Learn more about Garner
Garner hasn’t had too many chances under Solskjaer this season but there will come a point when he has to throw him into a bigger game to learn more about him.
The MEN report that United are considering loaning Garner out until the end of the season, but tonight’s game may give him a chance to prove what he can do.
Solskjaer says he wants to develop United’s young players and Garner is overdue an opportunity similar to the ones Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood have had this season.
Local lad should relish the derby
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the first leg is how unmotivated United were for the occasion.
A home derby should never go by with such a lack of fight and desire and having a local lad like Garner at the heart of the side might go some way to rectifying that.
United have to have far more about them in this second leg. Even if a comeback isn’t possible, a more spirited performance is the minimum requirement.
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