‘It was a wonderful occasion’ – U’s McGreal after defeat at Manchester United
PUBLISHED: 22:52 18 December 2019 | UPDATED: 22:52 18 December 2019
Colchester United boss, John McGreal, was “immensely proud” of his League Two side following tonight’s 3-0 defeat at Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
"I was quite surprised when I saw the team-sheet, because they had a fully-loaded team," admitted McGreal.
"We thought they were going to play a couple more of their younger lads, but that meant we were involved in 'big football.'
"The plan was to try to frusrate them, and to close down all the gaps, and I thought we did that very well in the first half.
"I can't remember them having too many clear-cut chances, although obviously we gave away a lot of territory and a lot of possession.
"I was really proud of that first-half performance, and I'm really proud of the boys, full stop.
"Ironically, we had just had our best shot on goal (by Callum Harriott), and all of a sudden they score within the next six or seven seconds.
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"That's the sort of thing you see every week, in the Premier League. We had tried to plug the gaps, and we were hoping that (Marcus) Rashford would put it wide, but he ended up putting it in the top corner. It was a good goal by a top, top player.
"I thought some of Manchester United's passing and one-twos were extraordinary. The first goal really opened it up, and before we knew it, we found ourselves 3-0 down.
"But I'm immensely proud of the boys, and their great cup run. We had close to 6,000 fans here tonight, and it was a huge commitment from them.
"It was a wonderful occasion, and it was a shot in the arm for us to hold them to 0-0 at half-time," added McGreal.
Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer said: "We knew Colchester United would be difficult to break down, after they had kept clean-sheets against Crystal Palace and Tottenham (previous rounds).
"I thought we played better in the first half than in the second half, but we were very wasteful. I thought we did OK in that first half, but in the end it was the first time they went for it that we counter-attacked and got the first goal. That settled us down."
Marcus Rashford broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, before an own goal by Ryan Jackson (56) and a close-range finish by Anthony Martial (61) killed off the tie, in front of an Old Trafford crowd of 57,559,