League Cup - United cruise to win at Aldershot
Manchester United got back to winning ways following their derby humbling with a comfortable 3-0 win at Aldershot Town in the fourth round of the Carling Cup at the EBB Stadium.
However, the trip to Hampshire will not have put nearly enough distance between them and Sunday's memorable 6-1 home defeat to local rivals Manchester City. Their league rehabilitation begins on Saturday when they travel to Everton.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson made 11 changes to his team from the weekend, but he seemed reticent to take any chances. In addition to Berbatov and Owen he selected club captain Nemanja Vidc, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley and Park Ji-sung in his starting line-up. With Mame Biram Diouf getting plenty of Premier League appearances under his belt last season while on loan at Blackburn Rovers, left-back Ezekiel Fryers and goalkeeper Ben Amos were the only two starters who could be called wet behind the ears.
Cleverley was making his first appearance since injuring his ankle in the September win over Bolton, but he continued his promising early-season form upon his return to action. As early as the seventh minute he fired over the bar after meeting Berbatov's backheel on the edge of the box, and on the 15-minute mark he had a hand in the goal.
Park surged in from the left and played a one-two with Cleverley before laying the ball into the feet of Berbatov. The Bulgarian - last season's joint-top scorer in the Premier League - showed quick feet to sidefoot a finish past goalkeeper Ross Worner for his first goal of the current term.
Berbatov then turned provider for United's second on 41 minutes when, after teasing isolated left-back Anthony Straker, he squared a low cross for Owen to convert, scoring his third goal in two Carling Cup starts this season.
Aldershot gave a good account of themselves in the first half - in particular winger Jermaine McGlashan and top scorer Danny Hylton doing their best to keep the United defence honest - but United had the result beyond doubt just after the restart.
Having lost the influential Alex Rodman at half-time to a shoulder injury, Aldershot's evening soon got worse on 48 minutes when Cleverley casually squared for Valencia to fire in a rasping, swerving 25-yard strike in off the underside of the crossbar.
With their path to the fifth round secured and a potential banana skin averted, Ferguson gave young trio Paul Pogba, Michael Keane and Ravel Morrison some game time.
Berbatov and Park both had a pair of chances to add to the score, but United had to work for their clean sheet as Luke Guttridge forced a save from the under-worked Amos with a free-kick and substitute Bradley Bubb fired over the bar.
Sadly for Aldershot, they were not able to match the result the last time united visited The Rec in 1970 by making the score 3-1, and instead must now focus on Saturday's arrival of their next opponents: Crewe Alexandra.