Belfast Telegraph

Darron Gibson to pay price of Manchester United's shocker

By Ian Herbert

A raft of young Manchester United careers are on the line after last night’s shock Carling Cup capitulation to Crystal Palace, including that of Derry-born Republic midfielder Darron Gibson.

Fuming boss Sir Alex Ferguson pinned his faith in his supposed Old Trafford ‘next generation’ and ending up saying sorry to fans for a 2-1 extra-time defeat by the Championship battlers.

“My apologies are to the fans because that was not a Manchester United performance,” said Fergie.

Some of his personnel did not look like Manchester United players, either. The overwhelming impression, in the week Manchester City and Liverpool revealed the strength they hold in reserve, was of a United who were flaccid, slow and drab as the winter's night.

A January transfer window clear-out now beckons. Gibson and Mame Diouf looked what they are — 24-year-olds with no future at Old Trafford. Fabio was made to seem a very ordinary defender by young Palace star Zaha while United still wait for striker Federico Macheda to burst through into the superstar who seemed in the making 18 months back.

Only Ravel Morrison provided genuine hope for the future, coming on as a half-time sub for Dimitar Berbatov who left the ground with a protective cast around his foot. He, also, may not be back for long.

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