Jose Mourinho found some much-needed respite against West Ham United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday night.
Braces from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial sealed an emphatic 4-1 win for the hosts, setting up a semi-final encounter with Hull City.
Following an occasional stagnant and downright frustrating 1-1 draw with the same side last weekend, this was a performance that played host to some sensational performances.
And with Man United’s game with Everton lingering on the horizon, here are three players that Mourinho must start at Goodison Park on Sunday.
If there were any doubts over Mkhitaryan’s right to a regular place in Mourinho’s starting XI, they were emphatically dispelled on Wednesday night. The Armenian was simply mesmerising all evening, carrying the ball with supreme levels of control and elusiveness. West Ham couldn’t deal with him, and his inclusion against Everton – especially with Wayne Rooney suspended – feels necessary.
Martial, in the past few weeks, has encountered a spell of low confidence. Omission from the France side was quickly followed by an inane display against Arsenal, and his situation at United felt precarious.
And then, out of practically nowhere, came an incredible display against West Ham. The Frenchman was an effervescent all evening, evoking memories of his debut season with a series of powerful runs and two well-taken goals. Mourinho will be keen to give Martial another chance to impose himself on Sunday against a side he terrorised on three occasions last season.
The Ecuadorian has been an immovable force under Mourinho this season. His ability to simultaneously surge forward and thwart attacks is crucial when it comes to encouraging the 53-year-old’s chosen style to thrive – a style that places emphasis on dynamism and power. Valencia seems unable to have a poor game, and his inclusion on Sunday doesn’t even require deliberation.