sport news Man United were expected to worry rivals City but instead they hit a brick wall

Manchester City's third-choice goalkeeper Zack Steffen has had an interesting introduction to big game occasions for his club.

On Sunday at Chelsea, he started by terrifying his back four by picking up a back pass in the very first minute. At Old Trafford last night his own player John Stones put the ball past him in to the net in the second. The goal was ruled out for offside.

But in both games – following those early worries – the American found himself with hardly anything to do. City won both matches comfortably. Against Chelsea, it was not a particular surprise. Here against an improving side it was.

This was a big test for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side and they failed it pretty convincingly

This was a big test for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side and they failed it pretty convincingly

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Solskjaer’s Red Devils lost 2-0 to rivals Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-finals

Solskjaer’s Red Devils lost 2-0 to rivals Manchester City in the Carabao Cup semi-finals

Pep Guardiola's City side reached their fourth successive Carabao Cup final on Wednesday

Pep Guardiola's City side reached their fourth successive Carabao Cup final on Wednesday

This was a big test for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side and they failed it pretty convincingly. United were not particularly bad. They were in the game until Fernandinho's clinching goal with five minutes remaining. But nor were they particularly good in any way and that is the pertinent point.

We expected more, for sure. United have been rolling nicely in the Premier League either side of Christmas, scoring good goals, nicking tight games and as such building the kind of momentum you need ahead a game against Pep Guardiola's side.

So we thought they may worry City but instead they simply hit a brick wall. This was no chasing, far from it. United were organised and largely resolute and they responded to John Stones' early second-half goal with some sporadic spells of possession.

But what did they really do? Who left a mark on the game for United? Bruno Fernandes brought a very good save from the American Steffen with a 20-yard shot in the first period but after that there was not terribly much to cause the 25-year-old any real concern.

United have improved under Solskjaer. If they take a point at Burnley next Tuesday they will move above Liverpool to the top of the table.

Nevertheless, this game pointed to enduring issues, problems they are yet to solve. Namely how to establish more control of the ball against the very good teams and how to manage a game with more certainty.

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United's star midfielder Bruno Fernandes looks dejected at Old Trafford as he was kept quiet

United's star midfielder Bruno Fernandes looks dejected at Old Trafford as he was kept quiet

This United team can be exciting to watch. They have some box office players. Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and, when he is fit and mentally in tune,

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