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Jose Mourinho praises Manchester United fans for their support – win, lose or draw!

Manchester United beat Manchester City at the second time of trying, this time in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. Juan Mata scored the winning goal of the match almost ten minutes into the second half. Manchester City failed to register a shot on target and have now seen themselves enter a precarious period after not winning a match in their last six, the first time Pep Guardiola has suffered this in his entire management career. United were defeated by Chelsea, who ran riot over Mourinho’s side scoring four goals, United’s biggest defeat this season. The victory over City, despite it only being by one goal will be a massive boost for the club as they now head into their next Premier League match against Burnley at Old Trafford with the win to boost them and the confidence to change their form in the league this season.

Jose Mourinho on his thoughts after the 1-0 victory over Manchester City:

“It is an important result because this is a knockout competition: if you lose you are out and if you win you are in. It is especially important because it was a way to create a better feeling for the absolutely wonderful fans that I have never seen before in my life. After the defeat at Chelsea, to have this support is incredible. The love that these people have for the club is bigger than the result, it is bigger than the success and the trophies. It is real love and it is real passion. I am very happy for them, I don’t care about myself. I am not happy because it is important for me, I am happy for the fans. I am happy for the players because they have absolutely everything. The performance was good, it was not phenomenal, but it was good. What was phenomenal was the spirit, the effort and the solidarity. This is the minimum that we can give to the fans.”

Mourinho on his players improving in the second half of the match:

“We found a better way to press them and to recover the ball. Step by step we were feeling more confident. We are used to playing with Bailly and Smalling, but we have lost both. We had to play with two left-footed central defenders and Marcos had not played for a while but he played phenomenal today. We were getting confident step by step, we were starting to trust our defensive organisation and then in the second half, especially Herrera, Carrick and Pogba, they increased the tempo. They started pressing higher. I thought Ander brought the team to different levels of intensity and pressing. Then we started recovering balls and being dangerous. Before the goal Pogba had a big chance. After the goal, Zlatan and Rashford had another big chance so we could have scored a second goal and killed the game. But I think it was better like this because it was a way for the players to go to the limit, to give everything, and for the fans to have that feeling. I know we have a game in two days and I know that the players had this run of Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Chelsea, City all within two days in between. But I think the fans deserved this from us and I am really happy for them and for the players.”

Mourinho on the support of the supporters:

“It is real passion that doesn’t depend on results or the moments. It is easy to be a Man United fan when you win the Treble, when you win five titles in seven years. But it is not so easy when you lose 4-0 and this is incredible. The only thing I can say is that I couldn’t be prouder than I am to be Man United manager. Like I wrote in my [programme] notes, after such a bad result the only way I know is to fight. We are going to fight and the players did that for the fans. The fans did that for the fans too because they also played this game. This was not the Champions League final. It is just the League Cup last 16, but it was against City and it was after a big defeat so it was very important for us.”

Manchester United will face West Ham United in the next round of the EFL Cup, against to be played at Old Trafford. Ander Herrera, one of the players who made a difference against Manchester City spoke about their next match in the league cup, saying:

“We faced West Ham four times last season – they are not in as good a moment as then but they have the players and the quality, and sooner or later the quality is going to come out. We have to control the very good players they have.”

Michael Carrick, speaking via his personal Twitter account spoke of the victory over Manchester City, saying:

Ander Herrera also spoke about the victory over the noisy neighbours, speaking to MUTV, saying:

Juan Mata, who scored the winning goal in the 54th minute of the match was named the club’s Man of the Match in a vote held on Twitter after the match.

Ander Herrera also tweeted this to pay tribute to his teammate and compatriot, also the goalscorer – Juan Mata:

Manchester United face Burnley in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday 29th October 2016, KO 15:00 BST. This is the first match played at the traditional time on a Saturday this season, also meaning it is the first match not to be shown live on television in the United Kingdom. United will be up for the challenge and will surely aim to cut the lead of their rivals and try to better their league position.

What We Learned: Herrera and Mata are great; some slack needs to be given

Manchester United beat Manchester City in the EFL Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, making a statement after their 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday. Pep Guardiola rested many of his stars, which was an unusual decision, especially in the fact his side were heading into six matches without a win, traveling to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon before entertaining Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday next week, which could very easily see Guardiola winless in eight matches, which will be the first time it has happened in his career – the same as six winless matches was a record for him tonight. Manchester City just don’t seem to be that threatening side they once were, yet criticism has been avoided as the media love City and, to be honest, who would care that they seem to be failing, especially when probably 98% of the country seem interested in reading about Manchester United.

Ander Herrera is magnificent

The Spanish midfielder was signed under Louis van Gaal two and a half years ago now and seemed to struggle to find his feet, not knowing where his best position was, with the manager having that same problem. Under Jose Mourinho, Herrera has found his feet and his favoured position. Again Chelsea on Sunday, Herrera and Antonio Valencia were the two players that could leave Stamford Bridge with their heads held high, tonight seems to be the same, although more players could raise their heads for good performances. Herrera was lively throughout the match, getting forward to try and find the lead shortly before Juan Mata found what would be the winner of the match. The Spaniard, for me, and probably for Mourinho, is the first name on the team sheet and could well be a future captain of the side for the passion and respect he has for the club and for winning. United should really think about looking at him as a candidate, especially if there is any truth in the rumours suggesting Wayne Rooney will need to leave Manchester United in order to get more game time.

Juan Mata was tipped to leave but is destined to stay

Juan Mata left Chelsea for Manchester United in January 2014 when Jose Mourinho saw him as a player that had his uses in his side but was not his first choice at the club. Mata became David Moyes’ best signing, although to be fair it is not hard to beat Marouane Fellaini in that category. When Mourinho was announced as the new Manchester United manager, Mata was the subject of much speculation suggesting he would be the first player out of the door. Mourinho gave him chances, he paid his manager back and has become one of the best players in the side. Mata is a great player. He may not be blessed with pace, but what he falls short of in that category, he makes up in the brains department. His thinking is lightning quick and because of that, he is able to read the game and get himself to where he wants to be. Mata scored the winner for United this evening, was also influential in the 4-1 victory over Fenerbahçe a week ago and when he came on against his former club at the weekend, he tried to get his team back into the match. Juan Mata, along with Ander Herrera has to have the Manchester United team built around them as they are the best players in the team currently.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to be cut some slack

Back in July when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was announced as a Manchester United player, there was much excitement for the Swede. Last season he scored 50 goals in 51 matches for Paris Saint-Germain, a feat many know will not be repeated at United, but still having him in the team was a confidence booster as his mentality is great. Zlatan is a winner and has won wherever he goes. Again, Chelsea, he did not have the best of matches, much like others recently, but if you look past everything he does for his team during matches, you miss everything and therefore it is easy to start throwing criticism at him, which many Manchester United supporters on social media seem to do. Tonight against Manchester City, Zlatan was trying to set his teammates up for goals, took a lot of tackling, and saw more than his fair share of fouls against him. This man was suggested to be selfish, but since he has been at United, that is something I have not seen from him. If he knows he can get into the box and score, he will attempt that. If not, he will try and set a teammate up. Zlatan needs to be cut some slack. A great striker needs service, otherwise, he is going to try and serve himself, which will see him fail and let the team down. When Manchester United have found their feet and start to perform properly, Zlatan will be in the zone and given the service all great strikers need. Ruud van Nistelrooy would not have scored as many goals as he did, had it not been for the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes et al helping him. Think about that before you criticise him.

Conclusion

Manchester United have not really been in bad form this season, other than the three-match losing streak back in September. Before the defeat to Chelsea, United had managed to avoid defeat in six matches, which is the same amount of matches Pep Guardiola’s side have been winless. United seem to get all the criticism and negativity, even from their own so-called supporters. Yes, this is not a period of success like we had under Sir Alex Ferguson, but it has been three years now with United stuttering – three managers and if this one does not work out, United will be in an even worse position as who in their right mind would want to manage a club where the fans see their own arses after a defeat and call for the manager to be sacked. Yes, David Moyes got sacked for poor management of the club. Louis van Gaal was sacked for not leading his side to the period the club thought was coming. But to sack Jose Mourinho without really giving him a chance is pathetic. Football is a game where you win, lose or draw. That is what happens and that needs to be accepted. Many seem to have rewritten history by suggesting that Sir Alex Ferguson did not lose big matches. He did. In the 1,500 matches Ferguson was the Manchester United manager for, he won 902, drew 327 and lost 271.

You learn from defeats and constantly winning, although nice, would become so boring. The Premier League is a very competitive league, therefore one of the toughest leagues in Europe if not the world. Perhaps the fans should also give the manager a little slack. Rome was not built in a day, you cannot force it to be built in a day either. Starting again, which is what United have done by installing a new manager, will mean that you need to give the manager a period of grace. Nobody is going to come into a club like Manchester United and turn them into the best team in the world in a couple of months. Look at what has been achieved by the manager so far. United have more wins than draws and defeats, in all competitions at least, they are sitting seventh in the league just six points from the top of the table, which sees Manchester City, Arsenal, and Liverpool all sharing the top spot with twenty points apiece. The teams above United have had some poor results which United have failed to capitalise on. That will probably happen again. United have turned their fortunes around once again, turned a defeat into a win and now head into the nest match with some more confidence. Just remember, if something is worth having, it is worth waiting for.

CONFIRMED: Shaw, Mata, Carrick & Ibrahimovic start against Manchester City

Manchester United will be pitted against Manchester City for the second time at Old Trafford this season, this time in the EFL Cup. Just over a month ago, Pep Guardiola’s City side went away with a 2-1 victory over United in the Premier League and tonight, after United were defeated 4-0 by Chelsea on Sunday, Jose Mourinho’s side will be under pressure to beat their noisy neighbours and that Bald Fraud, who is apparently a footballing genius. City has not won in their last five matches, which has not given the apparent ‘best club in the world’ any criticism whatsoever. The media love City, as with all due respect, they are rewarded by the club for doing so, that is obvious. Their Academy is a massive joke, rather like a farmer’s field not producing any crops. Players are leaving the club for chances elsewhere, even at the age of 12. What a complete failure of a club. Money can buy you a gleaming new Academy, but it cannot buy you any history!

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Valencia, Rojo, Blind, Shaw;

Herrera, Carrick;

Mata, Pogba, Rashford;

Ibrahimovic

Substitutes:

Romero; Darmian; Memphis, Lingard, Young, Fellaini, Schneiderlin

Manchester City:

Caballero;

Maffeo, Kompany, Otamendi, Clichy;

A. Garcia, Fernando;

Navas, Sane, Nolito;

Iheanacho

Substitutes:

Gunn; Kolarov, Adarabioyo; Sterling, Nasri, Fernandinho; Aguero

Preview: Manchester United looking to make Guardiola winless in six?

Old Trafford, Manchester

EFL Cup 2016/17

Wednesday 26th October 2016 – KO 20:00 [Live on Sky Sports]

Referee: Mike Dean

Assistant Referees: Simon Long and Ian Hussin

Fourth Official: Lee Mason

Manchester United will be pitted against local rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford for the second time this season. Pep Guardiola’s side got the victory over United back in September, winning 2-1 with United not really showing up in the first half of the match. It was the start of a three-match losing streak for United, who turned their form around to open a six-match unbeaten run, which was ended with the devastating 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, which saw United struggle to even demonstrate the ability to play the game, let alone do anything of note. The travelling United supporters did the club proud at Stamford Bridge, not that the players cared about them as they were only interested in laughing and swapping shirts with their Chelsea counterparts, which shows how far United have fallen. Tonight will need to see a big result from United, who will need to step up their game considerably in order to change their fortunes.

Jose Mourinho has a good team, but when they refuse to get involved, or even try to play for the shirt, it becomes something very frustrating. The players currently are showing that they don’t care about the club, the manager, the fans – seemingly cashing in their weekly pay cheques and lording it over us minions, who have effectively allowed them to become underserved millionaires. Things need to change in order for Manchester United to prevail. United ended up being hit with two injuries from the Chelsea defeat; Marouane Fellaini with a knee injury, who will miss the match against City, and Eric Bailly, who suffered from ligament damage in his knee, which will keep him out for a period of up to two months. United already have Phil Jones on the sidelines, but to be fair, when isn’t he injured?

Mourinho will be up for getting one over Pep Guardiola at Old Trafford tonight, being that he failed more than a month ago. Guardiola has his own problems with his team with Kevin De Bruyne ruled out of the match and possibly Yaya Toure being brought in from the cold. Many United fans have suggested that Bastian Schweinsteiger should also be brought back in from the cold, but with Ander Herrera, Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Carrick and even Marouane Fellaini ahead of him, what would be the point. He is not the player he once was, never really got involved in anything last season and seemed to prioritise his fitness for Germany over that of United. I see no point in bringing him back, letting him leave the club in January to allow him to continue his career. Many seem to criticise Jose Mourinho for this, but in bringing in another manager in three years, this kind of upheaval was always going to happen.

Let Mourinho build his team, give him this season to find the fit, judge him at the end of next season. If United lose, stop moaning about it, it has happened and cannot be changed. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get ready for the next match. Support is something you should never pick up and drop off based on results – if you do that, you are fickle.

The Derby has been fiercely contested throughout the years and tonight will be no difference. We’ve seen red cards a plenty, as well as some late, late drama – think Wayne Rooney in the League Cup in 2010, Paul Scholes securing a 1-0 away win (before receiving a smacker from G-Nev..) and Michael Owen famously sealing a 4-3 victory over their arch-rivals at Old Trafford. A fixture known for late drama, if you fancy the trend to continue tonight, you can get odds of 33/1 for United to score an injury time winner against City tonight.

Or if you’re less optimistic (and rightly so..) about a free-falling United, you can get odds of 15/1 to fail to register a shot on target in 90minutes tonight.

The ill-feeling and discontent at United at the moment was summed up by Jose Mourinho’s post-match whispering sweet-nothings into Antonio Conte’s ear. If you think he’ll be caught whispering into Guardiola’s ear this evening, you can get odds of EVENS with 888sport. Sticking with the jovial theme, any Manchester City player to celebrate by revealing a ‘Why Always Me’ T-shirt (Sunday was the 6-1 anniversary) is 100/1 with 888sport.

Manchester United Form:- LWDDW

Chelsea 4-0 L, Fenerbahçe 4-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D, Stoke City 1-1 D, Zorya Luhansk 1-0 W

Manchester United need to turn their form around quickly. The defeat to Chelsea shows no backbone, no determination or anything to suggest that this United team was actually united. Sir Alex Ferguson would have erupted at these players at half time, making them come out onto the pitch and fight for a result. Mourinho may have erupted himself in the dressing room, but the players just did not react like they should have done. The defending was poor, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind looked out of sorts. Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera were the two players able to hold their heads high. Luke Shaw was missed, as was Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who I hope will play a part this evening.

Manchester City Form:- DLDLD

Southampton 1-1 D, Barcelona 4-0 L, Everton 1-1 D, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Celtic 3-3 D

Manchester City can do nothing wrong this season. Pep Guardiola is a footballing genius who does everything right and has built teams all by himself, never inheriting a good side and continuing their good form, honest. City has not won in five matches. No criticism, only praise. Guardiola has not managed in the Premier League before, so this is fine, even for the footballing genius he apparently is (not). Guardiola is a fraud, but the City faithful will continue to scream about how great he is. If United do hit back and get a result, knocking City out of their favourite cup competition, things might just get worse for the Bald Fraud, which would be funny. It is not as if many City fans passionately follow their team is it, the Etihad is never full.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Paul Pogba, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling

Manchester City Top Scorers:

11 – Sergio Agüero, 5 – Manuel Nolito, Raheem Sterling, 4 – Kelechi Iheanacho, 2 – Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, 1 – Gaël Clichy, Fabian Delph, Aleix García Serrano, Ilkay Gündogan, David Silva

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Phil Jones (knee), Eric Bailly (LCL knee ligament), Marouane Fellaini (knee), Wayne Rooney (muscular injury)

Manchester City Squad:

Manager: Pep Guardiola

Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo, Willy Caballero

Defenders: Bacary Sagna, Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov, Gaël Clichy, John Stones, Nicolás Otamendi

Midfielders: Fernando, Raheem Sterling, İlkay Gündoğan, Nolito, Jesús Navas, Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph, David Silva, Fernandinho, Yaya Touré

Forwards: Sergio Agüero, Leroy Sané, Kelechi Iheanacho

Suspensions/Injuries: Kevin De Bruyne (calf), Pablo Zabaleta (foot), Bacary Sagna (hamstring), Fabian Delph (muscle injury)

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Manchester United 2-1 Manchester City

Manchester United face Manchester City in the fourth round of the EFL Cup

Manchester United beat Northampton Town 3-1 at Sixfields Stadium to earn a place in the fourth round of the EFL Cup where they will face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Old Trafford. United, far from convincing in the victory with Michael Carrick scoring the first goal, then Daley Blind conceded a penalty with the home side levelling the score. Ander Herrera then scored a thriller of a goal from long-range before Marcus Rashford did the unbelievable and latched onto a ball he should not have won, proving that he does not give up and is fighting for a place in the starting XI this season, sending United 3-1 up and in control of the match. United have ended their losing streak after three matches, something the players and Jose Mourinho will be happy of achieving.

Here is the full draw for the fourth round of the EFL Cup;

West Ham United v Chelsea

Manchester United v Manchester City

Arsenal v Reading

Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur

Bristol City v Hull City

Leeds United v Norwich City

Newcastle United v Preston North End

Southampton v Sunderland

Manchester United and Manchester City have a history of clashed in the League Cup, along with other competitions. The two sides met at Old Trafford just under a fortnight ago with City winning the match 2-1 after doing all they needed to do in the first half of the match. The United who emerged in the second half were much better than the side who started the match, but they were unable to draw anything from the match, despite trying. The match will be long-awaited and will be another chance for Jose Mourinho to get one over his counterpart, with United having a few matches to perfect their play ahead of the match. Obviously, City will have the same number of matches to perfect themselves, which United will need to encounter too, but it could also go the other way. tides change att of the time and could well change in the coming weeks.

United face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday 23rd October 2016, a 4pm kick off which has already been confirmed as a match that will be televised. I would imagine this match with City at Old Trafford will be played the following Wednesday, which will be confirmed in the coming days. United will face Burnley at Old Trafford the weekend after the City clash, so it will be a big week for United, needing to pull it out of the bag against Chelsea, City then Burnley have a successful week. The past week for United has been a poor one, but things do change and for every poor week, there are umpteen good weeks, so this bad feeling usually evens itself out at some point. United still have it all to play for this season, and right now, there is nothing to suggest they will not kick on. They do have a point to prove now. Matches will be played week commencing Monday 24th October 2016 and will be confirmed as soon as possible.

What We Learned: Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

Manchester United ended their three match beaten streak with a 3-1 victory over Northampton Town at Sixfields Stadium on Wednesday evening. With that victory, United have earned a fourth round clash with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Old Trafford, the second derby at the Theatre of Dreams this season and a second chance for Jose Mourinho’s side to get one over Guardiola. United did not play well against the League One side by any means. The first goal of the match, scored by Michael Carrick came in the aftermath of an indirect free-kick after a backpass to the goalkeeper. Memphis Depay touched the ball for Wayne Rooney to thump towards goal, it rebounded and Carrick then put a sublime shot into the back of the net. At the end of the first half Daley Blind conceded a penalty with was scored by Alex Revell, levelling the score at the end of the first half. United made two changes ten minutes into the second half with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford replacing Memphis and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Just thirteen minutes later Ander Herrera put United back into the lead with a long-range finish, minutes after trying the same thing and clattering the post. United were where they needed to be, in the lead and would need to remain in this position for the remainder of the match, which they did. Northampton Town rarely threatened in the second half of the match, with United doing all they needed to do in order to get the win they needed to raise their morale and put an end to the three match losing streak. Herrera again popped up in the match, lofting a ball from United’s half towards the goal with Rashford setting off on a run to retrieve the ball, something you though he could not win. He did, beating the keeper spectacularly and putting United 3-1 up and game over for the home side.

Wayne Rooney

Another terrible performance from the captain, even again League One opposition. Rooney could not even score from five-yards early into the match, despite being offside and rarely threatened on the ball. The captain has fallen dramatically and needs to impress the manager in order to win his place back in the team. Marcus Rashford, when he came on with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 55th minute of the match, played in the number ten role, behind the Swede, filling in well for the fallen captain. Rashford did what Rooney could not, score, and spectacularly so. Many will be slating the captain again, and at the end of the day it if only his own fault for not raising his game and leading by example. He might be a well-like teammate, but having him involved in matches in the form he is in is only going to cost United as the weeks pass, and really that is not something United need at the end of the season when they look back and see that things could have been changed with Rooney fighting for a position from the bench. Rooney is an influential player and if it did not work with him not playing, this aligned with him in the media will make it know that Rooney could have changed results, even though he has not changed them thus far and probably needs to find his hunger and spark for the game should he change things in the future.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Many seem to be annoyed with the Dutchman, who was playing his first match this season. Yes, he did not have a great game at right-back and seemed out of sorts at times, but for some to hit out against his talent seems a bit ill-informed. Fosu-Mensah is a great talent and can play at right-back, centre-back and in midfield. He needs time to find his feet this season, especially as he had not played until this evening. Many seem to forget that match fitness is something you need to play matches and not playing, not even for the reserves means that his match fitness was non-existent. Time needs to be afforded, something that many do not seem to give, but the same people say something similar about Wayne Rooney, who needs time to find his feet. Fosu-Mensah is an exciting prospect. I have seen him play at various age levels for United, and he has what is needed to achieve the heights he needs to reach. Many seem to suggest players are not good enough after one match, which is pretty pathetic if you ask me.

Defence

Manchester United’s defence is not strong, despite looking so at the start of the season. The resurgent displays of Eric Bailly during the four matches United won at the start of the season shows that he was a player who could be relied upon, despite the manager suggesting he was one for the future, rather than the now. It just shows how much the player has stepped up his game for his new manager and new club, the same could not be said about Chris Smalling and Daley Blind, who seem to have regressed. United have Phil Jones on the sidelines, to be honest he has been nowhere else for the last three years or more, so he cannot really be relied upon either. United only have youth aside of these four, a mixture of inexperience and excitement may well do the truck for Mourinho, but after his negative press during the three match losing streak, a gamble like this that did not pay off would see United dominate the back pages one against for the wrong reasons as United are the bread and butter for all journalists who want to slate something, most of the time unfairly. United will still need to strengthen in January, or next summer with a commanding central defender, one who could partner Smalling or Bailly, with Blind maybe better played in midfield.

Michael Carrick

This was his first start of the season, aside of the FA Community Shield victory over Leicester City at the start of August. Carrick stepped up and did what was needed against Northampton Town, scoring the first goal with a sublime finish. Partnered with Morgan Schneiderlin, a player who could replace Carrick in matches, keeping the team fresh for their onslaught of matches in the coming weeks and months. Carrick could allow Paul Pogba to be released from midfield much more to venture in advanced areas and help the French world record signing to find his feet. Carrick spoke about his playing time at the end of the match, telling the supporters not to worry about his lack of playing time, suggest that he knew the reasons why he was not called upon. United started the season playing well and with players performing, with the manager opting to keep his sides near enough the same for much of the season. Carrick will add the experience in the middle of the park. If Rooney is dropped too, it could fee up a place for Rashford to play behind Ibrahimovic, which would see the 18-year-old learn from the master, which would be good for his future. United clearly have a long way to go, but now another Manchester derby is on the horizon, meaning that United have a few matches to perfect their performances ready to deal a blow to Guardiola’s side, which will be fitting after the defeat at Old Trafford less than a fortnight ago.

Conclusion

Things have not gone well for United recently, but the confidence battle seems to have been won against Northampton Town. In know they were League One opposition, but they gave United a game and should be commended for doing so. United got what they needed from the match, a confidence booster. United now need to take what they have achieved from this match into the Premier League clash with Leicester City on Saturday, ensuring that they do their best in the match, taking all three points. Should they do that, they will be over the hill and heading into their second UEFA Europa League clash in a weeks time against Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford. A win there will end the three match winless run, turning it into a three match winning streak, which could put their season back on track after a short period of undesirable results. Manchester United seem to have stood up against Northampton Town, but now they need to be counted.

Ratings: Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

Manchester United beat Northampton Town 3-1 at Sixfields Stadium on Wednesday evening, bouncing back from their three-match run of defeats, which puts them in a better position, albeit mentally ahead of their Premier League clash with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday. Jose Mourinho and his United side have been the subject of many negative stories over the past few days, which again hits out at another manager in the limelight, which is a bit petty by the media who seem to use United as a meal ticket. United have not been the best team in the league, but they have certainly not been the worst either. Leicester are the current champions, languishing in eleventh place in the league, but there is no negativity there as it is what was expected and the stories will hardly bring the attention of the masses who love to read about the negativity at United. Shame they did not get more this evening.

United were down, but not out and this win will do a lot for confidence. Mourinho gave many fringe players a chance to show what they can do with Timothy Fosu-Mensah being singled out early in the match by disgruntled supporters if you could call them that. Some ‘fans’ seem to expect players who have not yet played this season to be ready to go, despite not having the match fitness required, or the experience of playing week in and week out, which certainly helps players find their feet. No, some fickle United fans seem to mock more than they celebrate based on the fact they know nothing about the players concerned, expect them to be ready to play, despite the fact they have not played this season, then moan when the player is not at his best. With Wayne Rooney, who has played the majority of matches, was not performing again (shock horror) yet still played the full match, not threatening one but, even from five-yards out. Here are the player ratings from the 3-1 victory over Northampton Town.

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

Commanded his area well. Put himself on the line at the end of the first half. The Argentinian did what he needed to do in the second half, which helped United win the match.

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24 Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Could have scored towards the end of the first half, but hit the crossbar. The Dutchman saw his match ended ten minutes into the second half with Marcus Rashford replacing him.

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Chris Smalling

Apart from the penalty which was conceded by Blind, Smalling did what he needed to do defensively despite the defence being shaky at times.

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17 Daley Blind

Gave away the penalty which levelled the match towards the end of the first half. Saw himself booked late into the match. Eric Bailly is the preferred partner for blind. This defence would end up costing United against a more superior team.

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16 Marcos Rojo

The Argentinian left back did well against Northampton Town. He got forward at times, did what he needed to do on the left flank and seemed much better than against Feyenoord, but the opposition were not as good as the Dutch side.

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Ratings: Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

Did his job in midfield without really being noticed. Seemed to play well with Michael Carrick in the centre of the pitch. Should be getting more time under Mourinho this season. Was replaced by Fellaini in the 73rd minute.

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16 Michael Carrick

Put United ahead after an indirect free-kick with a sumptious effort. Was the Man of the Match for me, as well as the pundits on Sky Sports. Needs to be given more game time, he himself said people need to be patient.

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Ratings: Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

Did not have the greatest match against lower opposition. Needs to improve or he will be out of chances. Seemed to be up for the occasion at the start of the match, but that soon disappeared with him not making an impact. He was replaced by Zlatan Ibrahimovic ten minutes into the second half.

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21 Ander Herrera

During the first half, you did not see much of Herrera, which was not a bad thing. He did what he needed to do, much like Schneiderlin. In the second half, Herrera made his presence known, trying at attempt from long-rage and hitting the post, try again later into the match and scoring United's second, also sending the ball up to try and score again, the ball with Rashford chased, won and scored with.

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18 Ashley Young

The English winger made his presence known throughout the match, but never got onto the end of anything which would have threatened. In the second half he player in the right-back role, playing well and doing what he needed to do, but nothing spectacular.

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Ratings: Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

The captain did not do all that well against the Cobblers. Missed from five yards early in the match, was offside for another. Seemed to try, but that does not get him off the hook. After the first two changes, Rooney was pushed into a right-wing position, a position he did not keep too, which could have let the team down. I find him to be more frustrating that he was at the weekend unable to make the grade against a League One side.

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Substitutes

10 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Replaced Memphis. The Swede did not really make much of an impact in the match, doing what he needed to do in order to help his teammates attack. He did not need to press much as Rashford and Herrera left some breathing space for United.

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10 Marcus Rashford

Replaced Fosu-Mensah. Another great moment for the 18-year-old. W9on a ball that he should never have won, not being disrespectful but it was a ball that was well out of his reach, but he never gave up, beating the keeper and putting United 3-1 up. Great bit of play for the young lad and something to knock another nail in the coffin of Wayne Rooney.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Replaced Schneiderlin. Came on with 17 minutes to go and did what he needed to do. Gave United a height and physicality presence, but did nothing of note to impact the match. United extended their lead two minutes after he came on giving the team some breathing space.

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Report: Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

Manchester United beat Northampton Town 3-1 at Sixfields Stadium after Michael Carrick put his side into the lead early in the first half, but United gave away a penalty at the end of the first half with the scores leveled. Ander Herrera, after trying something similar earlier in the match, doubled United’s lead from range. Marcus Rashford became the man of the moment once again by chasing a ball he was unlikely to win, beating the keeper and finding the back of the net. United were less convincing, but a win is a win and it has ended the three-match defeat streak.

Jose Mourinho made a few changes to his starting lineup with David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia, Paul Pogba all being left home with Anthony Martial on the sidelines through injury. Sergio Romero, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young were given starts with the manager keeping an eye on the Premier League fixture against Leicester City on Saturday. United  started well, as they should have against a League One side. It did not take long for Wayne Rooney to fluff his lines, though, missing from less than five yards out. United, even if they do beat Northampton Town, will still have a lot of work to do ahead of this weekend’s match, and the UEFA Europa League match at Old Trafford next Thursday.

Inside twelve minutes, United could have been a few goals to the good, but the finishing was nothing to write home about. United should have been a bit more clinical against their opposition. United were playing well against the Cobblers, against as would be expected. A back pass for the home side saw United granted an indirect free-kick, which was taken by Memphis with a touch, then Rooney with a kick towards goal, which deflected back, found its was to Carrick with him scoring for United. If United can continue playing in this manner, confidence will rise ahead of Saturday’s match, which will only be a good thing.

After the opening goal, the tempo of the match changed slightly with United showing less urgency, but still the team in the driving seat. I guess the relief will have been there after scoring the opening goal of the match. In the 30th minute of the match, Rojo and Schneiderlin played a great ball over to the right with Fosu-Mensah running towards goal, he then headed the ball hitting the crossbar. Rooney was there to bury the rebound, but he was offside. United found themselves under the cosh with the match heading towards the 40th minute with Kenji Gorré, the former United Academy player heading towards goal, with his shot going over the crossbar. United were let off there,

In the 41st minute, United gave away a penalty through Blind with Alex Revell finding the back of the net to level the score. United now needed to work much harder to get back into the lead. United had another dubious moment towards the end of the half with Romero clattering Taylor to thump the ball out of the box. Nothing given for the challenge, which was fair. United immediately went on the attack with Rooney being thwarted by the goalkeeper. There were two minutes at the end of the first half, with it coming to and end with both teams level at 1-1.

No changes at the start of the second half for United, but it was not long before two changes were made. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford replaced Memphis Depay and Timothy Fosu-Mensah with Ashley Young pushed into the right-back role and Rooney now pushed into the right-wing role with Rashford tucked in behind Ibrahimovic. United seemed to have made the right changes, which seemed to make the home side more determined to break through and test United in a bid to get something more out of the game. United had a lot to do and were far from convincing. Just before the hour, Herrera clattered the post after a low drive into the box towards goal, which was a shame. Moments later Young was taken out with a poor challenge, with only a throw-in given which Rooney gave to the Cobblers keeper.

In the 68th minute, after breaking forward Ander Herrera after receiving the ball thumped his effort from range into the back of the net, not long after trying earlier in the match and hitting the post. Marouane Fellaini replaced Schneiderlin, who had a good game. Moments later, United extended their lead with Marcus Rashford chasing the ball, which seemed ahead of him. He then dummied the keeper, won the ball and walked it into the back of the net. Nice bit of skill from the 18-year-old. United were in the position where they had the insurance of a two-goal cushion, which was where they needed to be to command the match, staying in that position despite some threatening play from the home side.

United got the win they needed, despite it not being all that convincing at times, but they will be into round four of the EFL Cup and head into their Premier League clash with Leicester City knowing that they have ended their three-match losing streak, albeit against a League One side, a side they should have beaten convincingly, but didn’t. United might be down, but they were not out and the play of Rashford, Herrera and Carrick was reassuringly good and seemed to help United in their moment of need.

Goals: Michael Carrick 18′, Ander Herrera 68′, Marcus Rashford 75′

Assists: Marcus Rashford 68′, Ander Herrera 75′

Manchester United: Romero; Fosu-Mensah (Rashford 55′), Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin (Fellaini 73′), Carrick; Memphis (Ibrahimovic 55′), Herrera, Young; Rooney

Substitutes Not Used: Johnstone; Darmian; Mata, Lingard

Bookings: Daley Blind 74′

Starting XI: Northampton Town v Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

Manchester United face Northampton Town in the EFL Cup at Sixfields Stadium this evening, a match Jose Mourinho’s side head into after losing three matches in a row. United are in the basement in terms of confidence, despite it being so much better at the start of the season. Leaks are finding their way into the hands of the media, Wayne Rooney is being slated by many supporters (rightly so) and things are just not looking as good as they were just over a month ago. Should United lose this match, it will be four in a row with United heading into a Premier League clash with Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday, with them losing to Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Tuesday evening. United will need to find their feet, and fast, or this season could go horribly wrong with similar problems as the last three seasons. Is the manager to blame, or do some of the players now need to take a long hard look in the mirror and see everything is not as good as they think it is? Wayne Rooney, I was looking at you. Here are the starting XI’s and list of substitutes for both teams this evening.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Fosu-Mensah, Smalling, Blind, Rojo;

Schneiderlin, Carrick;

Memphis, Herrera, Young;

Rooney

Substitutes:

Johnstone; Darmian; Mata, Lingard, Fellaini; Ibrahimovic, Rashford

Northampton Town:

Smith;

Moloney, Diamond, Zakuani, Buchanan;

McCourt;

Gorre, Beautyman, Taylor, Hoskins;

Revell

Substitutes:

Cornell, Byrom, Richards, Potter, Sonupe, O’Toole, Nyatanga

Scouting The Opposition: Northampton Town v Manchester United – EFL Cup 2016/17

After a nightmare week of three consecutive defeats, Manchester United begin their League Cup campaign with an away fixture at Northampton Town. The Midlands club enjoyed a successful 2015/16 season that saw them earn promotion to League One as Champions. Their good form continued into the new season as they went unbeaten in their first six games under new manager Rob Page. Their early success will have them brimming with confidence.  They will be relishing the chance to face a United side currently struggling for cohesion. Jose Mourinho and his squad will be hoping that League One opposition will provide the perfect opportunity to put recent troubles behind them. Expect a much-changed side to take the field against Northampton. With Mourinho keeping one eye on a weekend tie with Leicester City to reinvigorate their league form.

Manager: Rob Page

Rob Page had a successful playing career across the Premier and Football league up until his retirement in 2011. Upon his move into management, he led Port Vale to a twelfth-placed finish in 2015/16 before taking Northampton job for the current season. Unbeaten in his first six games in charge, including a penalty shoot-out victory over West Bromwich Albion in the second round of the EFL Cup, Page continues to grow his managerial reputation in the Football League. Favouring full-backs who push high up the pitch and quick wide players, Page will seek to exploit the defensive weaknesses United displayed in wide areas against Watford. The young coach will relish the opportunity to test his managerial skills against one of the best in Jose Mourinho. He may even find he is the more relaxed of the two managers come Wednesday evening.

Form Guide

Northampton Town 3-2 MK Dons

Northampton Town 2-0 Walsall

Chesterfield 3-1 Northampton Town

Key Player: Alex Revell

Currently Northampton Town’s top scorer, with three league goals, veteran striker Alex Revell will look to carry his impressive early form into the EFL Cup. Support in wide areas in the form of Kenji Gorre should offer him plenty of opportunities.  Especially if United perform as poorly in defence as they did at the weekend. Yet the prospect of facing a likely Centre-back pairing of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind will present a much tougher examination of his abilities than he is used to in League One. At 33, Revell is unlikely to bother them much with his pace but if he uses intelligent movement gained from a long career across the country, he could cause United problems.

Predicted Starting XI

Score Prediction

Northampton Town 1-3 Manchester United

A cup tie against League One opponents would seem like the perfect opportunity to bounce back for Manchester United.  Yet complacency has seen the club slip up at this stage before. Louis van Gaal discovered to his embarrassment that a winnable cup tie against lesser opposition can turn into a disaster that reverberates throughout your Manchester United career.  His defeat at the hands of MK Dons early in his tenure was not soon forgotten. Changes are likely from the side that faced Watford on Sunday, especially with one eye on a home match against Leicester City this weekend. Luke Shaw is unlikely to feature due to a groin injury and it would not be a surprise to see most of the team who faced Watford left out this time. There will be many fringe players with a point to prove.  Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be eager to give a better account of themselves than they have done so far this season and earn a place in Mourinho’s first eleven. Michael Carrick may get his first chance after so far failing to play any minutes this season. Should Carrick start, United should be able to create enough chances to finish off the football league side.

copyright: JW