Following Manchester United’s draw with West Ham United on Sunday, Ander Herrera cut a frustrated figure as he gave several post-match interviews in the moments after the full-time whistle.
Now the Spaniard has regained his focus and is looking ahead to Wednesday night’s EFL Cup quarter-final, an opportunity for the players to repay the fans after a run of disappointing results.
As luck would have it, United have a chance to right the wrongs of Sunday evening with a win over the same opposition. West Ham United return to Old Trafford to battle it out for a semi-final place and Herrera views this next game as a chance for revenge.
“It’s positive that we are playing on Wednesday, when we can get revenge. We can turn our luck in the next game in the EFL Cup.”
While success in midweek won’t bring back the valuable league points that were lost at the weekend, it does represent a chance to reach the latter stages of a tournament and put United one step closer towards more silverware. Herrera is all too aware of that responsibility and is determined to experience more success at Manchester United.
“It doesn’t matter the competition, it doesn’t matter the game, we just want to win. We want to fight for everything and we want to make our fans proud.
“West Ham are a good side – it is not easy to stop them creating chances. They have [Manuel] Lanzini, they have [Diafra] Sakho, they have [Dimitri] Payet, they have [Michail] Antonio – they have very good players but they just created two chances in the whole game.
“We were the dominant team so hopefully, on Wednesday, we can create as many chances as we did [on Sunday] and normally we should win.”
Herrera was speaking with his customary optimism once again and he was far from the disconsolate man who spoke to MUTV on Sunday. Despite having 91 shots in four home league matches in October, United scored just three times and earned a measly four points. United’s performances deserved greater rewards and to dominate a string of matches in this manner without winning even one was evidently hard for Herrera to take.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 27, 2016
The quality of Herrera’s performances under Jose Mourinho, coupled with his attitude and commitment to the club in several key matches this season, have led many fans to consider him a future United captain. His visible pain at United’s inability to convert their superiority into victory suggests he truly cares about the club and that will only strengthen the connection with his adoring public. Speaking to Sky Sports, Herrera said:
“The goalkeeper was the best player for them, once again. It was the same against Burnley, against Stoke and against Arsenal. I can’t remember a game [this season] where an opponent has created more chances than us.
“We’re playing so well; we’re creating a lot of chances and a lot of shots, moving the ball from side to side and crossing – I don’t know what we have to do to win a game. I don’t know what I can say to our fans, either, because it’s frustrating for us.”
With the Premier League title race a distant dream and the race for Champions League qualification very much against them, Manchester United must turn their attention to opportunities like Wednesday night as they look to be successful this season. While it is not the first choice on anyone’s list, a day out at Wembley and success in the EFL Cup would be a wonderful way to start life under Jose Mourinho.