Belfast Telegraph

Big response from Manchester United vital: Evans

By Andy Hampson

Jonny Evans is determined to quickly forget Manchester United’s shock Carling Cup loss to Crystal Palace.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson apologised to fans after the Championship side claimed an unexpected place in the semi-finals with a 2-1 victory in extra-time at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

United looked set to gain the upper hand after a Federico Macheda penalty cancelled out Darren Ambrose's wonder strike but Glenn Murray settled the tie with a header in the 98th minute.

Evans had been restored to the United side and handed the captain's armband, as Ferguson made 10 changes, but he could only rue the team's performance.

The Northern Ireland international said: “We're very disappointed not to be in the semi-finals.

“I thought we would go on after we scored and going into the first period of extra-time, playing towards the Stretford End, I thought we'd have a chance of getting a goal and seal it from there.

“But they went down the other end and scored against the run of play really. We had a lot of possession, but we just couldn't break them down.

“A lot of our play was in front of them and I think the only way we were going to get in was down the side, but we didn't manage to do that as well as Manchester United can. We didn't get a lot of crosses into the box.

“The games are coming thick and fast and the manager will need his squad.

“So we need to pick ourselves up and hopefully win on Saturday.”

United return to Premier League action with a trip to Aston Villa tomorrow and it’s a game that Evans is focused on winning.

A number of the stars rested by Ferguson are likely to return, but with the likes of Evans, Park Ji-sung, Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia on duty, United were hardly lacking in top-level experience against Palace.

Defender Chris Smalling also started as he continued his return from a foot injury.

Berbatov (pictured) will be doubtful for tomorrow after the Bulgarian left Old Trafford on Wednesday night with his foot in a protective boot.

Fabio, the only survivor in the side from last weekend’s draw with Newcastle United, also has a problem after limping out of the action in the first-half.

Twenty-three-year-old Evans was making his 100th United appearance but the result overshadowed that landmark and the honour of leading out the side for the first time.

He said: “I was delighted to be given the armband, but I'd happily take that away to have the victory instead.

“It's good that the manager plays the younger lads and has faith in them, but unfortunately we couldn’t get the result.”

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