Reading defender Tom McIntyre said it was a “great experience” to play against “the finest in the world” against Manchester United in the FA Cup on Saturday night.
United advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over the Championship side at Old Trafford. Erik ten Hag’s side won for the 11th time in 13 games thanks to goals from Brazilian duo Casemiro (2) and Fred.
The Reds are the only team in England still contending on all four fronts, and they will be anxious to end their trophy drought this season. Ten Hag’s men are almost certain to reach the Carabao Cup final after a 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in their semi-final first-leg clash.
Reading put in a valiant effort against Manchester United at Old Trafford, but the quality of the home team proved too much for Paul Ince’s players on the night. Despite losing and quitting the competition, Royals defender McIntyre, who began as a center-back for Reading, was grateful for the opportunity to put his skills to the test against the Reds.
“We tested ourselves against the finest in the world at Old Trafford and it was a fantastic experience. “We’ll all learn a lot from it and apply it for the rest of the season,” he told club media.
“We didn’t know what kind of team they’d put out and at the end of the day we’ve come to play Man United at Old Trafford and we want to play against their top players. When we saw the teamsheets, we were all excited since that’s what we came here to play against.
“I believe even with ten guys we still produced a bit and had a fair number of chances. We expected them to have a lot of the ball and move us around, but I thought we defended well as a unit. We stayed in good shape, and football is like that sometimes – you’ll come up against teams where you have to sit in and wait for your chances. On another day, we might have taken a few of those, but it’s still a fantastic experience.”
United has an intense match calendar in February, with Ten Hag’s men playing eight times.