Micahel Carrick has expressed his disappointment following Manchester United’s 2-1 second leg defeat to Hull City in the League Cup semi-final, despite seeing his side do enough to reach Wembley next month.
Jose Mourinho’s men recovered from going behind in the first half with a Paul Pogba goal in the 66th minute that put the tie beyond doubt.
Oumar Niasse’s late strike gave Marco Silva’s men a glimmer of hope during the dying stages but Man United managed to hold on and book a date with Southampton at Wembley next month.
But Carrick, speaking after the game, was notably dejected following what was a dramatically substandard performance.
“I wouldn’t say we were relieved,” Carrick said.
“We are disappointed in the way we played and losing the game. We wanted to keep our run going and we didn’t play well at all.
“Of course we are delighted to reach the final but it’s a strange feeling.
“We expected a tough game, they had to come at us, and we just didn’t play well. We don’t like losing and we’ve lost but we are in the final.
“You don’t get many chances to win a trophy so we have to grab that chance.”
Going into a second leg with a two goal cushion, away at a side with nothing to lose, is harder than it seems. United trawled across the soggy KC Stadium turf in a clear state of limbo – unsure over whether to pour forward in search of another goal or to sit back and absorb what Hull could muster.
In the end, Mourinho’s side didn’t really do either, providing scant solidity at the back and even less when it came to going forward. Perhaps this was a simple case of poor game management, or maybe just a case of complacency. The Portuguese – and indeed his players – will know that more energy, more assurance and more purpose will be required in the next few weeks.
Then again, amid the ignominy of losing an 17-game unbeaten record, it can be easy to forget that United are going to Wembley and I, for one, cannot wait.