Gaffer salutes man of the match display...
United manager Neil Warnock paid tribute to unsung hero Luke Varney after the Capital One Cup success against Southampton at Elland Road.
The former Blackpool and Portsmouth striker missed the weekend clash with Birmingham City due to illness, but was desperate to return to action against the Saints, and he turned in a man of the match performance as United progressed in the cup.
He recovered from the set-back of missing one early chance to go close on more than one occasion, he was the architect for Michael Tonge's opening goal, and he was a thorn in Southampton's side all night.
"I thought Luke Varney epitomised everything," said the United manager. "He missed the tap in of the century, but for me he was our man of the match.
"He hadn't been very well, he was sick as well at half-time, and it looked like he would come off. I asked him to give me 20 minutes and in the end he gave me 40 minutes.
"It was great from him. And it was great to hear the applause at the end when he came off because he's the one that the fans have picked on here and booed. I was delighted for him."
The boss admitted he had been looking to freshen up his striking options for the cup tie, and says Varney's display gave United a dimension that has been lacking in previous weeks.
"Everybody has been aware we've been missing something up front, and I thought Varney showed what we've been missing, running in the channels, and his movement," said the boss.
"I first saw him do that at Crewe Alexandra early in his career playing with a lad called Nicky Maynard and I thought Luke was by far the better player. I asked him to do that.
"I nearly played Sam Byram there because Luke had been struggling with illness and we haven't got the pace. I once played Danny Butterfield up front, who played against us last night, and people thought I was daft. He scored a hat-trick against Wolves.
"I thought about Sam but the staff talked me out of that. I was confident what Luke could do off the ball. He was instrumental. He turned them the other way and made runs the other way. He made Dioufy pick the ball up higher up the pitch and he gave us another dimension.
"It was a tremendous performance. He deserved that applause. He's been an easy target for the fans and it was great to see him get that."