A ‘weakened’ Manchester United team proved to be too good for Championship side Burton Albion in their Carabao Cup tie, with the Red Devils running out 4-1 winners at Old Trafford to march into the pre-quarters of the domestic cup competition.
Jose Mourinho opted to rest several of his stars, including summer singings Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku, but the hosts still had plenty of quality in their starting XI to overpower their second-tier opposition.
Academy graduate Marcus Rashford was leading the line in Lukaku’s absence and the 19-year-old justified his manager’s faith with a quick-fire double to get United off to a blistering chance and banish any hopes Burton fans had of a stunning upset.
Burton, managed by the Nigel Clough-son of legendary manager Brian Clough-were bright in patches but the moment they would enjoy a good spell,
Michael Carrick, on his first start of the season, found Jesse Lingard inside the box and the winger’s deft first-touch set up Rashford for a one-on-one and the forward smartly finished past Connor Ripley in the fifth minute.
Rashford would double his and United’s tally 12 minutes later with a precision strike from the edge of the penalty area but the hosts didn’t take the foot of the pedal and Lingard would further extend the lead with a shot that got a massive deflection seven minutes before the interval.
Anthony Martial had been bright in the first 45 minutes but somehow a goal eluded him and as the second-half began, the Frenchman was a constant menace with his pace and dribbling skills.
The 21-year-old did finally get the goal he deserved and had Rashford to thank for after the English striker set him up with a smart pass from the outside of his boot. Martial took the pass in his stride and slotted past Ripley to clinch United’s fourth.
Left-back Luke Shaw made his comeback from injury to give the Red Devils something more to cheer for on the night but their perfect evening was spoiled as Lloyd Dyer managed to score a scrappy consolation goal.
Sergio Romero, starting in place of David de Gea, made a hash of a routine cross and the 35-year-old Dyer struck home from close range to give the travelling support something to cheer for.
The Red Devils, who are jointly-topping the Premier League with arch-rivals Manchester City, have a trip to Southampton on Saturday and Mourinho will hope his side continue to rack up the goals and wins as they have so far this season.