United boss Ferguson stunned by Coventry defeat

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LONDON, Sep 27 (Reuters) Manager Alex Ferguson was left ''shocked and flabbergasted'' by his Manchester United side who lost 2-0 to Coventry City in the League Cup last night.

The Scot fielded a young team against the Championship (second division) side at Old Trafford, giving eight players their first starts of the season.

But the youngsters never played well against Iain Dowie's men who won with two goals from Maltese international striker Michael Mifsud after 27 and 70 minutes in front of a stunned 74,000 crowd.

''You take it on the chin,'' Ferguson told Manchester United's in-house TV channel MUTV.

''That was an absolutely flabbergasting performance, I didn't expect that. I'm not interested in giving reasons, it was just a bad performance.

''We have shown great hope in the young players. It's a big shock to us all.'' Despite the defeat, Ferguson said he did not regret giving so many youngsters a chance.

''You have got to do that,'' he said.

''It wasn't a surprise to look at the team tonight and see that we had made changes. These players have to have games. But this was a shock for us tonight.'' Coventry boss Dowie was delighted, however, as his side ended a run of three matches without a win.

''They deserve an enormous amount of credit and all the plaudits for the result,'' he told the club's Web site (www.ccfc.premiumtv.co.uk).

REUTERS BJR KN1545

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