In Review

Man Utd to face Man City in EFL Cup fourth round

'Stuttering' Manchester United overcome Northampton thanks to Marcus Rashford

Northampton 1 Manchester United 3

It was an evening of good and bad news for Jose Mourinho in Northampton. On the plus side his side ended a run of three defeats on the bounce with a 3-1 victory over their hosts to ease United into the fourth round of the EFL Cup. And their next opponents? Manchester City.

According to the Daily Mirror "Mourinho skulked away after only a brief TV interview and wouldn’t speak after hearing United had drawn City".

When the neighbours met less than a fortnight ago, the Sky Blues triumphed 2-1 at Old Trafford, a win that sparked United's three consecutive defeats. Though that streak has now been arrested it was another laboured performance from Mourinho's men against a League One outfit.

The cynic might claim that United's best performer was Northampton goalkeeper Adam Smith, who lived up to club's nickname by producing a performance that was complete Cobblers. His first gaffe was to pick up a back pass in the 17th minute that resulted in a United free kick. Wayne Rooney's shot was blocked but the loose ball fell at the feet of Michael Carrick whose strike put the visitors one up.

Alex Revell levelled for Northampton from the penalty spot three minutes before the interval after Daley Blind fouled Sam Hoskins, but Ander Herrera restored United's lead midway through the second half with a powerful drive. A few minutes later Smith made another blunder, missing an easy clearance and allowing Marcus Rashford the chance to poke the ball into an empty net.

Mourinho's mood was sombre even before news came of the fourth round tie, and instead of drawing positives from the 3-1 victory, the United manager seemed more interesting in dwelling on negatives. In particular he was irate that referee Stuart Attwell hadn't dismissed Jak McCourt for what Mourinho viewed as a wild challenge on Memphis Depay. "The game should be easier — we should have been playing against 10 men very early in the second half," he reflected. "I should stop speaking about refereeing decisions but it is a red card that could cause some serious injury but I should just stop."

Though Mourinho had little to say to the national broadcasters, he later addressed the club's recent bad run in an interview with MUTC. "If the fans have been disappointed with the last week, I understand completely but I am sure they will be behind the team like they always are," he explained, before taking aim at recent critics. "We had a bad week. I know that the world is full of Einsteins, I know that they tried to delete 16 years of my career, they tried to delete an unbelievable history of Manchester United Football Club and to focus on a bad week with three bad results. But that's the new football, it's full of Einsteins."

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