The result aside, Manchester United did not really go off the team bus last night. It was such a shock watching a Championship club freeze us to a couple of shots on target all night. I mean Derby were worth their victory. Usually after a United defeat, I spend the next few hours contemplating about the missed chances and all the play that could have got us the victory but last night, nothing went into my head. For starters, I didn't expect the Ronaldo free-kicks to go in any way. They only go in when when they are least expected to, so the Paul Scholes drives and John O'Shea attempts were in truth, our best attempts at goal all night. It was shocking! We've lost 2 games this season but if we had performed as good as we did in those defeats we would have won tonight by some score! This therefore was arguably our worst performance this season and it was the worst individual performance I've seen by United players in quite a while.
On the optimistic front, it's also an achievement for our lads to play that poorly and yet lose by a single goal. It certainly shows what we are capable of when we are at our best. Of course we expect that in the return leg a OT, Derby will not have a new manager to impress and so should be less inspired than they were last night.
The problem thought lies on our side. If we beat the Rams in the second-leg, we will have made it to the Cup final--which unfortunately means that will be another league game called off as the final is on March 1--a Premier League weekend. That could prove as an unnecessary distraction as I expect we should be fighting for the title by then. It's quite unfortunate that the fixtures are made in such a way that the successful team suffers. This has been a very difficult season for us given what we achieved last season, so one can excuse the lads for putting in a performance as bad as we did last night. I mean our opponents on Sunday have the whole week to prepare while we have the added frustration of getting this defeat behind the players. But isn't that what Manchester United is all about--Mission Impossible being made possible! Bring on Chelsea!