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Northampton Town 1 - 3 Manchester United: three things we learned

The Red Devils rediscovered their winning touch against the Cobblers. Mourinho must now keep this momentum going

Northampton Town v Manchester United - EFL Cup Third Round Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

After suffering to three back-to-back defeats inkust over a week, Jose Mourinho and his side will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders, as they confidently beat Northampton Town to qualify for the fourth round of the EFL Cup last night.

Despite a few nervy moments in defence, the Red Devils were clinical on the other side of the pitch, scoring three goals from the seven shots they had on target.

Herrera has to start vs Leicester City

Ander Herrera made his third start under Jose Mourinho this season, playing a big role in Manchester United’s victory over Northampton, restoring the side’s lead halfway through the second half and, five minutes later, providing the assist for Marcus Rashford’s goal, which sealed the win.

The Spaniard’s performance last night will surely give Mourinho some a selection problem: who should start in midfield against Leicester City on the weekend? Since his arrival at the club, Herrera has always been in and out of the line-up for United, but will be looking to play a key role for the side this season.

Has Mourinho given Rooney his final chance?

The hot topic that has been discussed for quite some time could now be about to reach a conclusion, with Wayne Rooney failing to score a goal against a League One side. Mourinho appears to have no option but to drop him to the bench. From missing a sitter in the penalty area, to being out paced by a 31-year-old centre-back, Rooney no longer deserves an automatic selection in the first eleven.

It was actually a surprise that Mourinho started the captain against Northampton; normally he would rest him ahead of the Premier League fixture at the weekend, as was the case against Feyenoord last week. So, is Mourinho finally going to do the right thing?

United’s possession problems are now fixed

The Red Devils dominated possession from the start — something they couldn’t do against Feyenoord and Watford recently, which led to the side struggling to get into the game until the second half and by then it was too late.

Also, having Daley Blind and Michael Carrick in the same line-up, meant United were very confident and controlled in possession against Northampton, as both players have the ability to dictate the tempo of the match. With Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney playing in midfield against Watford, the passing in the middle of the pitch was too slow and predictable. Mourinho should keep this in mind, as many fans want to see both Blind and Carrick start against Leicester.