BBC Sport football

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 18:59 GMT, Sunday, 28 February 2010

BBC pundits on Carling Cup final

Alan Hansen
Alan Hansen
Former Liverpool defender and winner of four League Cups

Manchester United deserved their victory because they got their tactics spot on.

They definitely had a lot of problems in the first half, but after that they defended the 18-yard line and left no space in behind. They just controlled the game.

Villa came up a long way short of what they would have wanted in the second half when I think United's much greater experience of playing big matches told.

Michael Carrick was absolutely magnificent playing in front of the back four - but Wayne Rooney was the story.


I think Rooney's the best player in the country by a mile. I watched him against AC Milan and his headers were sensational but today's was the best of the lot - a great header under extreme pressure.

Truly great players know where and when to go. Rooney's got it down to a fine art.

But United's victory is also a tribute to Sir Alex Ferguson as a manager.

I don't think there's any team that's played so badly for so long - and yet been right in the mix at the end of the season.

There's not a hint of complacency at any stage with Ferguson. We can criticise the teams he picks at times - but he always comes out on top.

Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer
Former England and Newcastle United striker

Rooney changed the game. With him having such an incredible season it was inevitable it would happen, the way things are going for him in front of goal.

Myself, Alan Hansen and Gareth Southgate all went for Villa before the game but that's because Rooney wasn't starting.

He came on at a crucial time of the game and it was a fantastic header to win the game.

The hard thing about it was that he was travelling backwards, so to get the power and accuracy on it was just sensational. He's running backwards, he guides it with great accuracy and it was a goal worthy of winning a final.

Villa didn't perform in the second half. Look at Villa's big players - apart from Gabriel Agbonlahor, they didn't get into the game.

Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate
Former England and Aston Villa defender

The disappointment will be bitter for Aston Villa because I don't think they played as well as they can in the second half.

They started really well and Agbonlahor caused so many problems early in the game, but credit to United, they dealt with that by dropping deeper.

Unfortunately, when Villa face a packed defence, they can't break teams down. They're very good on the break but if you defend deep against them, it's a problem.

Looking at Manchester United's front line, it was like the passing on of the baton today from the old to the new.

Michael Owen had his moment in the spotlight but unfortunately his body let him down again - and there's Rooney to come on and grab all the headlines.

It's the way their two careers are going now unfortunately.

Alan Hansen, Alan Shearer and Gareth Southgate were speaking on Match of the Day on BBC1

Carling Cup results

28 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

see also
Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd
28 Feb 10 |  League Cup
Sunday football as it happened
28 Feb 10 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
28 Feb 10 |  Football