Manchester United and Luton Town faced-off in the Carabao Cup’s Third Round last night in a game which saw the Reds come away with a 3-0 win. However, despite the somewhat flattering scoreline, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists that getting past the Championship outfit was ‘hard work’.
Solskjaer made wholesale changes last night with club captain Harry Maguire being the only first-team player to keep his place from the side that started in last weekend’s crushing 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace.
The two sides looked set to go into the break all square at 0-0 but a late challenge on left-back Brandon Williams inside of the Luton box meant the Reds were awarded with a penalty which the experienced Juan Mata cooly converted.
Despite coming out of the break 1-0 up, it took the introduction of both Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood to put the game to bed.
The exciting English duo both got on the scoresheet late-on in two fine goals which saw the pair link-up superbly for Rashford’s which was shortly followed by a trademark solo effort by Greenwood.
Despite the pair’s great work late-on, the tie never really looked comfortably in United’s control, this feeling was echoed after debutant keeper Dean Henderson was called into action at 1-0 and make a wonder save.
Speaking to MUTV after the game, when asked if the side got a good workout Solskjaer said: “Safe and through? It wasn’t safe, they made us work hard for it.
“But that’s what we need, we need to get competitive games and minutes into the legs of our players because normally we’re in a pre-season after such [a] short training [period] and pre-season games are different, so I was happy with the competitive nature of this game and of course happy to go through because we’ll get another chance next midweek to get more match minutes into players.”
When asked how crucial the timing of Mata’s penalty was, Solskjaer said: “Yeah we didn’t have too many but there were two or three openings there.
“Juan had a good chance, it was a good save by the keeper, that was a close one of course but getting the first goal is always important in games.”
The Norwegian will now be preparing his Reds for a weekend Premier League clash against Graham Potter’s Brighton and Hove Albion whilst awaiting to learn their Carabao Cup Fourth Round opponents which could be Brighton again who play Preston later tonight.