Manchester United were unable to break down a well drilled and equipped West Ham United side in the 3rd round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night. The hosts stunned by Manual Lanzini's goal in the early stages, unable to recover and find a way back in the second period to take the contest to penalties.
Early chances went to the visitors as the Red Devils played catch up a fine ball down the right by Ryan Fredericks seeing Andriy Yarmolenko outmuscle Alex Telles near the byline. The winger in plenty of space as he picked out Jared Bowen inside the area, the number 20 scuffing his finish wide of Dean Henderson's near post. Lanzini's calm finish slotted in the right hand corner of the net would lead to United's downfall all night. A side footed finish from close range, Fredericks the supplier giving Henderson no chance.
This goal seemed to have woken United up as the crowd roared on claiming for a penalty as Jesse Lingard went down under slight contact from Mark Noble. With United finding their feet eventually, Juan Mata was instrumental via the corner kick only for it to be punched away by Alphonse Areola as the Red Devils were slowly knocking on the door, Jadon Sancho coming close moments later skipping inside his man and firing a low strike across goal, the ball deflecting behind off the outstretched Craig Dawson.
But as the game took firm it looked more and more likely that the Hammers would hold firm with United's having various efforts on the half an hour mark. The second half remained an uphill battle, Telles curling in just after the break with the ball thumped clear by Dawson's header, the West Ham backline stubborn as ever. This was to be the story of the game although United tried to rally late on in taking the game to penalties, Bruno Fernandes trying an effort from 25 yards out which went wide of the post with the game ending prematurely.
The game was one sided in possession United having the better of it, the Red Devils utilising the ball pretty well unable to pounce on their higher statistical shots on target, with West Ham clinical and resilient on the night. Man United had 27 shots on goal during the game compared to West Ham's nine, with six shots on target to the away sides three. The possession count for the Red Devils was higher with a 61% to 39% ratio at Old Trafford. The total pass count for United was way higher, 584 to West Ham's 370. The Manchester side also had the better passing accuracy of 84% to the visitors 75%.
Solskjaer admitted the cutting edge in the game was the downfall
The Red Devils manager was disappointed with the display up top, he said:
"Poor start, and then when we decided that we wanted to join the game, then we played some good football, loads of shots, loads of pressure, very good attitude but we lacked the end product. The first ten minutes we was slow, pedestrian both in possession and out of possession and thats something we have to address. I wasn't pleased with the start but the reaction was good again."
On how the club sees the Carabao Cup
Solskjaer highlighted how Manchester United football club see the competition.
"You can see by the team selection, we have always used this competition, whilst I have been at the club to give minutes to the ones who need it. Because we know its a very long season. I have never won this competition, that hunt will have to keep going, its a trophy I would like to have. Sometimes you have to take risks and make changes and we did. Great to see Alex Telles back on the pitch. We started poorly and finished the last five minutes openly."