Michael Carrick claimed that Manchester United’s ruthlessness in front of goal during their 4-1 win over West Ham United on Wednesday served as an important change from Sunday’s 1-1 draw with the East London side.
Jose Mourinho’s men lost further ground on leaders Chelsea over the weekend after once again failing to translate their dominance into three points against West Ham.
However, just three days later, Man United rectified Sunday’s disaster with an emphatic performance in front of goal, sealing a convincing 4-1 win through braces from Anthony Martial and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Carrick, speaking after the game, was evidently pleased with the clinical edge displayed by United’s attacking quartet.
“We were disappointed with how we finished the first half and frustrated we let the control of the game go,” Carrick said.
“It was nice to come out in the second half and finish the game off comfortably. We are creating good chances but things are not going for us.
“They had half a chance and scored from it. Credit for the boys who killed it off.”
United made the perfect start against Slaven Bilic’s men on Wednesday night, with Ibrahimovic burying the home side’s first chance of the evening after just two minutes. The early goal had a clear galavanting effect: suddenly red shirts fearlessly streamed forward, smelling blood and looking for more. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Wayne Rooney were untouchable on the ball; Martial, a reserved figure so far this season, evoked memories of last year with a series of rip-roaring bursts forward.
And then, out of nowhere, West Ham equalised. A simultaneously shocking and predictable blow: Mourinho’s men, after all, have made a habit of dominating games and going ahead, only to somehow concede on the break. This time around, however, there would be no heartbreak, with the home side confidently dispatching the side that frustrated them just three days before.
United fans will be desperate to see their side replicate such ruthlessness in the Premier League over the busy Christmas schedule.