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Page last updated at 07:46 GMT, Thursday, 23 September 2010 08:46 UK

Man Utd defend boss Ferguson's absence in Carling Cup

Manchester United's Michael Owen scores in the League Cup

Scunthorpe 2-5 Man Utd

Manchester United assistant boss Mike Phelan has defended Sir Alex Ferguson's absence during their 5-2 Carling Cup third round victory at Scunthorpe.

Ferguson missed only his third match since becoming United manager in 1986 to watch Valencia in Spain, their next opponents in the Champions League.

"We put a big value on the Carling Cup," said Phelan. "We've never set out to demean the competition.

"It's important we prepare properly for the Valencia game and look at them."

Phelan added: "Valencia have started their season very well and it was important after the draw with Rangers that we got a good view of them.

"The manager chose to go and watch the Valencia game. We need to go there knowing what we're up against. He's the manager and he had to make a decision.

"We're holders of the Carling Cup, we've done that two years in a row and you can see from the players' attitude that we want to keep hold of it."

Muffin McLovin

Despite the absence of Ferguson and the fact that United made 11 changes after their 3-2 Premier League win against Liverpool on Sunday, they cruised to victory at Glanford Park after going a goal down, with Darron Gibson, Chris Smalling, a Michael Owen brace and Park Ji-Sung doing the damage.

"I thought Scunthorpe played their part in a very, very good game," said Phelan. "They created plenty of opportunities, even when we managed to get it to 5-1 I think we'd had about six chances.

"Overall it's a great scoreline from our point of view because it was a new team out there put together in a couple of days, and Scunthorpe should take a lot of pride and credit from the game."

Scunthorpe caretaker manager Ian Baraclough was left to rue his side's bad luck as they found United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak in fine form.

"It could have been so different but it wasn't to be," said Baraclough. "The lads won't be too down about it, I won't let them be.

"Manchester United finished clinically. I've just been told we had 25 efforts on goal, we've made their keeper work 14 or 15 times. I couldn't fault the lads, we just kept going forwards, but we left ourselves open a bit."

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see also
Carling Cup as it happened
22 Sep 10 |  Football
Scunthorpe 2-5 Man Utd
22 Sep 10 |  League Cup
Carelessness must stop - Ferguson
19 Sep 10 |  Premier League

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