Alan Curbishley doesn’t think Charlton will have ‘a problem getting up for Manchester United’
Posted by  badge Boss on Jan 10
Alan Curbishley thinks Charlton are ready for Manchester United (Picture: Mark Chapman/Focus Images Ltd)

The legendary former player and manager, who now covers matches for Charlton TV, looks ahead to the League One side’s glamour Carabao Cup tie at tonight.

How excited are you by the prospect of facing United?

I think the fans are hugely excited. It looks like they will be going to Old Trafford with 8,000 or 9,000 fans and that’s incredible when you consider the and the threat of rail strikes.

If you were Charlton boss nowadays how would you approach the tie?

The win over Lincoln on Saturday has alleviated the league problem by lifting us into mid-table. I wouldn’t make drastic changes for the cup game. I know most people don’t give Charlton a chance but with so many people travelling up there you’ve got a responsibility to put out your strongest side. There’s lots of talk about players can’t play all these games but, let me tell you, they won’t have a problem getting up for United.

United have won all five games since the break. Can Charlton worry a defence that has conceded just once in that run?

Mandela Egbo of Charlton Athletic (left) and former manager Alan Curbishley (Picture: Ben Peters/Focus Images Ltd)

The Charlton boys know who they are playing against. They see them week in, week out on TV. Man United aren’t going to know who they’re playing against and people like Jes Rak-Sakyi and Corey Blackett-Taylor can do damage. What we’ve got in our favour is the unknown quantity. Obviously it’s going to be massively tough. United have picked up and are going great guns but (manager) Dean Holden has come out and said that, like the Brighton game in the last round, it’s a free hit.

How do you feel about the job Erik ten Hag has done at United and how he dealt with the Cristiano Ronaldo situation?

Can star player Jesurun Rak-Sakyi give Man united a run for their money? (Picture: Mark Chapman/Focus Images Ltd)

I don’t think it was just Ronaldo, it wasn’t a happy camp. He wasn’t happy, the team wasn’t doing so well, the fans weren’t happy. Now he has left it has coincided with the team picking up and everyone’s happy. They’re looking like top-four prospects where perhaps a month ago they weren’t.

It’s been quite a turbulent season for Charlton, this game will be just Dean Holden’s fifth in charge.

It’s a results business but the chairman is on his fifth manager in a couple of years. It needs settling down and for everyone to take stock. For the club to get anywhere near the play-offs they’ve got to have a miraculous run but I think it can be done. Dean has got to be given the time to stamp his authority on it. Five managers in two years doesn’t work, I don’t think.

Obviously you managed Charlton for a long time. Do you think recent managers have been backed properly?

I think it’s a bit different because when we were building the club I sat down with the chairman every year and we worked out where our expectation levels should be. The current chairman (Thomas Sandgaard) is living in America so that’s difficult and the results haven’t come along so he’s felt he’s had to do something. Let’s hope this is the one.

Carabao Cup quarter-final

Miles Leaburn of Charlton Athletic hopes to follow in his famous dad Carl’s footsteps (Picture: Ben Peters/Focus Images Ltd)

Man United v Charlton, 8pm

It’s 15 years since these teams last met, when Charlton were a Premier League side and United were heading towards another title. The Addicks’ slide since puts United’s recent ups and downs in perspective.

Under new boss Dean Holden, their fifth manager in less than two years and a lifelong United fan, Charlton sit 12th in League One but it has been an unhappy camp at The Valley for some time – with the exception of this season’s League Cup, that is.

They knocked out top-flight Brighton on penalties in the last round and with talented young players such as top scorer Miles Leaburn, whose dad Carl scored for the club in a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 1994, they will be up for another upset.

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