Sir Alex Ferguson was a notable absentee from Glanford Park, as holders Manchester United saw off the challenge of Scunthorpe United with a 5-2 victory.
Ferguson opted instead to head to Spain to take a look at Champions League opponents Valencia, leaving Mike Phelan to take charge of the Red Devils against their Championship hosts.
He said after the game: "We put a big value on the Carling Cup. We've never set out to demean the Carling Cup.
"We're holders, we've done that two years in a row and you can see from the players' attitude that we want to keep hold of it.
"It's important after the Rangers games that we prepare properly and get a good view of Valencia, who've started their season very well.
"He (Ferguson) chose to go and watch the Valencia game. We need to go there knowing what we're up against. He's the manager and he had to make a decision."
Ferguson had earlier told CNN International about his European hopes for this season, saying: "You expect great improvement from Real Madrid under Jose Mourinho.
"Barcelona are still the most attractive team and they will be one of the main dangers, with Inter Milan the most difficult to beat.
"They've all got their different qualities, but it's such an exciting tournament, you can't help but look forward to it. The Champions League is the most fantastic competition."