Manchester United must avoid an FA Cup third-round shock when they travel to north-west neighbours Wigan Athletic on Monday night. The Red Devils may be 12-time holders, a tally only inferior to Arsenal’s 14, but they aren’t strangers to surprise exits at the first hurdle, either.
Before January 2010, Sir Alex Ferguson had never overseen a third-round defeat or been dumped out by lower-league opposition in the FA Cup throughout his 23-year reign.
However, that changed when Leeds United, 42 places lower in the English football pyramid, earned one of the most memorable scalps in the history of the clubs’ bitter rivalry at Old Trafford.
Jermaine Beckford’s 19th-minute strike before the Stretford End was enough for the League One leaders to inflict humiliation on United.
Dimitar Berbatov started the tie alongside Wayne Rooney in attack and, as United gear up to face another League One side in the third round, has recalled the disastrous day in M16.
“Of course, against Leeds, there was even more disappointment because when you’re a serial winner, and you win the Premier League pretty much every year, and then Leeds come to your place and beat you, that’s a disaster,” Berbatov told Betfair.
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“The dressing room was a f***ing cemetery! Afterwards, we were just sitting there waiting for the gaffer to give us what we deserved.
“You then start to punish yourself by thinking: ‘I didn’t do enough. I disappointed everyone.’ That’s what winners do to themselves when they lose.
“Winners take responsibility and try to correct their mistakes in the next game. It was a major upset for us back then.”
United went on to lift yet to Carabao Cup the following month but missed out on another Premier League title to Chelsea by one point.
Ten Hag’s side visit Wigan not with the reputation of FA Cup favourites almost guaranteed to progress, but as a team in disarray with a horrendous recent away record to match.