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Northampton vs Manchester United, EFL Cup third round, Michael Carrick, Rashford, Herrera

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Ignorant Michael Carrick bring lively atmosphere back in Manchester United

Michael Carrick gets the start and he quickly responded with a goal to grab the opportunity with both hands. Manchester United three straight defeats puts them in a position where they were burdened by unnecessary pressure going into a match playing against Northampton in EFL Cup third round. The world were eagerly waiting how Mourinho and  United respond and they got off to the perfect start when Carrick curled home in 17th minute.

But Alex Revell  levelled the game from the spot in 42nd minute for the hosts just before half-time. United had been eliminated to lower-division opponents in five of the last 10 seasons in this competition but Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford 67th and 78th minute goal respectively ensured they avoid embarrassment on this occasion.

Paul Pogba, David de Gea and Eric Bailly were given the night off, and Wayne Rooney started as the lone striker for the first time since May. Mourinho bizarre decisions may not have tastical validation, but it worked as Red devils defeated Northampton 3-1. Rooney looked short of confidence, playing as a forward after a long time. He fired wide from eight yards into seven minutes of the game, as Ashley Young feeded him. United dominated the ball as Carrick takes care in the role of a holding midfielder. His performance merited a goal and he got it on 17 minutes.

Northampton goalkeeper Adam Smith handled Matty Taylor’s back-pass and the referee had no choice to award an indirect free-kick inside the area. Rooney’s low attempt was blocked but Carrick confidently smashed home the rebound from 18 yards right into the top corner.

Rooney also had the ball in the net on 31 minutes after Timothy Fosu-Mensah headed against the crossbar – but it was correctly chalked off for offside. Northampton put pressure on United in 38th minute when former United youth player Kenji Gorre cut inside Fosu-Mensah from the left but his shot clipped the bar and went to safety. But, only 4 minutes later, Northampton were awarded a penalty in 42nd minute when Daley Blind fouled on Sam Hoskins inside the area. Revell scored from the spot as Sergio Romero goes the wrong way and Sixfields Stadium were singing their own song, as the emotion on the face of  Revell was clear to see as he ran off celebrating.

Herrera went close to giving his team the lead on 59 minutes but his 25-yard effort clipped the post and went wide. He only had to wait eight minutes before getting another chance – and he took it. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford, came on pitch in second-half which brought more space for Herrera in midfield.

Rashford held the ball up in the area and slid the ball back for the midfielder to hammer home a strike from the edge of the area. The goal knocked the stuffing out of the hosts and United took full advantage when Rashford chased down a lost cause which caused Smith to make a mess of his clearance. The England striker poked the ball past him and rolled the ball into the empty net.

The young United striker has now been involved in more goals than any other Man Utd player since his debut (11 goals, 3 assists). The future looks very bright for the 18-year-old and Mourinho will be hoping his team follow suit.Next up for United in the fourth-round is local rivals Manchester City, where Mourinho and Pep Guardiola will renew their rivalry for the second time this season.



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