Assistant Manager's thoughts on Southampton Cup tie...
United assistant manager Mick Jones believes Tuesday's Capital One Cup fourth round tie against Southampton (7.45pm) is the perfect way for his side to return to action on home soil in the wake of Saturday's home reverse at the hands of Birmingham City.
The Blues loss was the first defeat in eight games for Neil Warnock's men, and the Capital One Cup presents an immediate chance to return to winning ways, albeit against Premier League opposition, in the shape of Southampton.
"For me you'd take a cup game every time in this situation," said the assistant manager.
"In all my years in the game you still get depressed when you don't win at home. It ruins your weekend. This League Cup game gets you out of that depressed mode, it lifts spirits and gets you ready for a big game.
"This competition has made a lot of managers, particularly Martin O'Neill who had a great record at winning this cup. I'm a big fan of it.
"I think the big four or six clubs are divided on it with the league and Europe. When I was a lad the FA Cup was bigger than the league but not now. This cup also gives clubs a chance of getting further than maybe they used to."
Skipper Lee Peltier is still carrying an ankle knock, and the management team were assessing the situation on Monday afternoon before firming up the team to take on the Saints.
"Win, lose or draw last weekend, we'd look at the team, and decide to go with what we have or try and freshen it up," explained Mick.
"The League Cup is totally different to league games. What league games bring is lots of months and lots of travelling. In this, you can go to Wembley after six matches so it's a totally different attitude and perspective.
"No doubt it will be a good game. There'll be a good atmosphere. It's a Premiership team. We know football is a great leveller and I'm hoping that will be apparent. When we played Everton, David Moyes gave us a great compliment with the team he picked, but we beat them and we beat them well."
Southampton will look at the trip to Elland Road as a respite from what has proved a tough start to life as a Premiership club. They have lost three of their last four league games, and have recorded only one win so far this term in the top-flight.
"I have every sympathy with them," said Mick. "The lads who are on three or four points must be under pressure. I disagree that there is no gap between the top of the Championship and the bottom of the Premier League.
"We found that out at QPR. We beat Stoke, Everton and Chelsea, but we'd made six signings in three days because we had to because we knew wouldn't survive with what we had. The teams that go up do find it hard.
"Southampton might see it as an opportunity on Tuesday. A win would lift spirits and take them further. I don't know what Nigel is thinking, I can't think for him. All we can think about is ourselves and pick a team with vitality and try and win it."