MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United's season descended deeper into crisis on Wednesday after a 3-0 home loss against Newcastle ended its defense of the League Cup and heaped more pressure on manager Erik ten Hag.
An eighth defeat of the season in all competitions was the latest blow for English soccer's most storied club, which looks in danger of suffering another season of disappointment.
United lost 3-0 at home to Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday and Saudi-backed Newcastle repeated that scoreline at Old Trafford to raise further questions over Ten Hag's ability to return the club to its former glories.
First-half goals from substitute Miguel Almiron and Lewis Hall put the visitors in control by the break and Joe Willock completed the scoring after an hour.
United had won the cup in February by beating Newcastle at Wembley Stadium as Ten Hag ended the club's six-year wait for silverware. But that is a distant memory now as his team's season descended deeper into crisis.
The Dutch coach, who won three league titles with Ajax, was mocked by Newcastle's fans throughout the game as they chanted that he would be fired in the morning. While there has been no suggestion Ten Hag's position is under threat, United's poor form is of growing concern.
Defeat also came despite Ten Hag naming a starting lineup that had cost around half a billion dollars — even without $82 million off-season signing Rasmus Hojlund, as well as Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford.
By the time those players were called for in an attempt to turn the game around in the second half, Ten Hag had fielded around $720 million of talent.
It made little difference to the outcome.
United had offered little penetration in the first half and went behind in the 28th minute after being caught on the break. Alejandro Garnacho lost possession in Newcastle’s half, which gave Tino Livramento the chance to burst forward.
He then found the run of Almiron, who beat Andre Onana from inside the box by firing into the far corner.
The lead was doubled eight minutes later, with United once again guilty of creating problems for itself.
Indecisiveness at the back eventually led to Harry Maguire tamely heading Willock’s cross from the left. His clearance only went as far as the edge of the area, where Hall was waiting to volley through a crowd of players and into the bottom corner.
Ten Hag made changes at halftime, notably taking off his captain Casemiro. But Newcastle extended its lead when Willock carried the ball to the edge of the area and swept a low shot past Onana.
Chelsea put its troubles in the league behind it with a 2-0 win against second division Blackburn.
Defeat against Brentford over the weekend left the London club in 11th place in the standings and facing a fight to challenge for Champions League qualification. But manager Mauricio Pochettino moved a step closer to his first trophy in charge as goals from Benoit Badiashile and Raheem Sterling secured the win against Blackburn at Stamford Bridge.
Everton is also finding joy in this competition. While it looks like being another league battle for survival for the Merseyside club, it saw off Burnley 3-0 at Goodison Park.
Darwin Nunez scored a 70th-minute winner as Liverpool won 2-1 at Bournemouth. Jurgen Klopp’s team won the competition in 2022 and is back in the hunt for more silverware after ending last season trophyless.
Liverpool is the highest-ranked team left in the cup after Arsenal suffered a surprise 3-1 loss at West Ham.
Fulham is also through to the last eight with a 3-1 win against second division Ipswich.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
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James Robson, The Associated Press