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Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City: Four things we learned

The performance may have garnered mixed reviews, but there are plenty of lessons to be learned from United’s derby win

Manchester United v Manchester City - EFL Cup Fourth Round Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Given how strong the Manchester United's line-up was compared to Manchester City’s in last night’s EFL Cup fourth round tie, the first half was awful to watch as both sides failed to register a shot on target.

However, Jose Mourinho’s men were very effective after the half-time interval, with Juan Mata giving the home side the lead ten minutes into the second half.

United had a few chances to finish the game off that they were unable to convert, but it didn’t matter too much considering the fact that the visitors didn’t seem bothered to fight for an equaliser.

Ibrahimovic could do with a break

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has made 14 appearances for Manchester United this season and most people thought he would be given a rest last night. The Swede’s recent performances have been criticised as he has failed to score a league goal for the Red Devils since the Manchester derby in September.

The 35-year-old produced the pass which led to Juan Mata’s goal, but besides that Ibrahimovic struggled to get into the game and had an atrocious first half.

Carrick and Mata have to start vs Burnley

Michael Carrick and Juan Mata were United’s the best players. Both did a fantastic job when in possession and it was quite a surprise that they didn’t start against Chelsea game at the weekend. Carrick is yet to make a league start under Mourinho this season and the side could do with him in order to restore balance in midfield.

The Red Devils have won every game Carrick has played and have lost only two points when Mata has started so far this campaign.

Rojo was impressive in the centre-back role

Although Marcos Rojo is regarded as a weakness when utilised in the left-back role, the Argentine arguably completed one of his best performances at centre-back in a United shirt. With Eric Bailly out for eight weeks with a knee injury, Rojo could be the ideal replacement at the heart of defence and his display in the derby will back this statement up.

On paper, Rojo might not deserve to be a regular starter for the club, but you can’t question his selection if he carries on playing like this.

Mourinho needed the win more than Guardiola

Ahead of the derby, both managers had failed to win a league game this month. José Mourinho selected a stronger side than Pep Guardiola, who made nine changes to the team that drew 1-1 with Southampton at the weekend.

It wasn’t the best performance from United, but it was a much needed win for Mourinh after the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.