Manchester United face an uphill battle if they are to reach Wembley this season after losing the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final to Sunderland by two goals to one at the Stadium of Light.
An own goal from Ryan Giggs gave the hosts the lead on the stroke of half time, before Nemanja Vidic drew United level seven minutes after the break.
However, just twelve minutes later, Adam Johnson tumbled in the area following a challenge from Tom Cleverley, and Fabio Borini duly dispatched the resulting spot-kick to give Gus Poyet’s side the advantage.
The second leg takes place at Old Trafford in a fortnight, by which time manager David Moyes will hope to have a number of his key players back and fully fit.
The club will first turn their attention to Saturday afternoon’s league visit of Swansea City, where they will hope to avoid a fourth straight defeat.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are the latest club to be linked with a move for Chelsea’s Juan Mata, according to the Daily Star.
If the move materialises, it could pave the way for Angel Di Maria to secure a move to the Premier League, with both United and Arsenal reportedly keen on signing the Argentina international.