Wayne Rooney, Andreas Pereira and Anthony Martial were on target as Manchester United beat Ipswich 3-0 in the Capital One Cup at Old Trafford.
Rooney scored his first domestic goal of the season to put United ahead midway through the first half before Pereira doubled the advantage on the hour mark with a fine free-kick.
Martial was introduced as a substitute 20 minutes from time and continued his fine start to life in England with a third goal in stoppage time, his fourth in four games since his move from Monaco.
United’s 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in this competition last year is regarded as the worst loss of Louis van Gaal’s tenure, but there was no way he was going to let Ipswich record a similar result on Wednesday.
The United boss sent out a near full-strength side, and they spared little energy dispatching an Ipswich team that contained 11 changes.
Given that Ipswich had 10 free signings and one player who cost just £8,500 in their starting line-up, Van Gaal’s £207million star-studded XI was always going to come out on top.
As soon as the team sheets were handed in, Ipswich knew they would be in for a hard night. James Wilson, Jesse Lingard and Sam Johnstone were all left out of the squad. Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger and David de Gea started instead, as did Pereira.
The 19-year-old, who was one of the best performers on United’s pre-season tour, looked keen to impress, cutting in from the left flank before driving a low shot into Bialkowski’s arms early on.
Giles Coke handled Antonio Valencia’s cross, but luckily for Mick McCarthy’s team, and the 4,500 fans who had made the 235-mile trip from Suffolk to watch them, referee Simon Hooper waved play on.
The game hit a lull. United hogged the ball but did little with it.
It took an exquisite bit of vision from Blind and a fantastic touch from Rooney to break the deadlock. The Dutchman fired a flat 40-yard pass to his captain, who cushioned the ball on his right foot and finished with his left after shrugging off the challenge of Piotr Malarczyk, the one man in the Town team who commanded a fee. It was Rooney’s first goal in the League Cup since 2010.
Other than a tame shot by Juan Mata, United did not threaten for the rest of the first half.
Josh Yorwerth and Tommy Oar had a go at equalising just before the break as Ipswich ended the half strongly.
After the break the Tractor Boys continued to threaten. David McGoldrick wasted a free header in the box and then fizzed a low ball across the box. The only thing that was missing was a finishing touch.
United started to reassert themselves thereafter. Valencia pounded Bialkowski’s palms with a booming shot and Kevin Bru’s trip on Mata brought Pereira into shooting range.
The young Brazilian did not disappoint, clipping a bending, dipping shot over the wall into the corner while Bialkowski stood rooted to the ground.
Bialkowski saved well to deny Mata a third, but Martial had no such trouble beating the Town goalkeeper, sliding the ball past him 20 minutes after his introduction from the bench.