Football: Revenge best served in Cup

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney (centre) talking with his team-mates ahead of their league game against West Ham. The teams meet again today with Rooney seeking a historic 249th United goal.
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney (centre) talking with his team-mates ahead of their league game against West Ham. The teams meet again today with Rooney seeking a historic 249th United goal.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Herrera confident of a United victory if Red Devils dominate West Ham once again

LONDON • Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera says his side will be out for "revenge" when they welcome West Ham United back to Old Trafford in the League Cup quarter-finals today.

West Ham held Herrera and his team-mates to a 1-1 draw on Sunday in a Premier League match that saw United manager Jose Mourinho sent to the stands for angrily kicking a water bottle.

United have made their worst start to a league season since 1989, drawing their last four home games, and Herrera warned Slaven Bilic's players to brace themselves for a backlash.

"It's positive that we are playing on Wednesday, when we can get revenge. We can turn our luck in the next game in the League Cup," said the Spaniard, who won the FA Cup with United last season.

"It doesn't matter the competition, it doesn't matter the game; we just want to win. We want to fight for everything and we want to make our fans proud.

POSSIBLE TURNING POINT

It's positive that we are playing on Wednesday, when we can get revenge. We can turn our luck in the next game.

ANDER HERRERA, Manchester United midfielder, on the opportunity to record a win over West Ham in the League Cup today after failing to beat the Hammers in the Premier League on Sunday.

"West Ham are a good side - it is not easy to stop them creating chances. They have (Manuel) Lanzini, they have (Diafra) Sakho, they have (Dimitri) Payet, they have (Michail) Antonio. They have very good players. But they just created two chances in the whole game. We were the dominant team, so hopefully on Wednesday we can create as many chances as we did (on Sunday) and normally we should win."

United will be without midfielders Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini through suspension.

Having started on the bench on Sunday, captain Wayne Rooney will hope to return to the starting XI as he chases a record-equalling 249th United goal.

Mourinho, who is facing a touchline ban of up to three matches after the Football Association confirmed on Monday that it has charged him with improper conduct for his temper tantrum on Sunday, will be on the touchline today.

The Portuguese, who has until tomorrow to accept or deny the charge, has not only to contend with concerns from senior figures at Old Trafford about his conduct.

He is also facing scrutiny over his team selections, apart from United's wretched league form.

On Sunday, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial were left out of the United squad even though they were fully fit. Surprisingly, Ashley Young, who has made just five league starts this year, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was forced to train away from the first team until a month ago, were on the bench.

Martial and Shaw are expected to feature in today's match, as is Michael Carrick, who was omitted from Sunday's squad because of a minor muscle problem.

With their league campaign faltering, the League Cup might represent Mourinho's best chance to win some silverware this season. The 53-year-old won the trophy on three occasions and took the competition seriously at Chelsea.

The Red Devils can progress to the semi-finals with a win at Old Trafford but Sunday's 1-1 draw shows West Ham will put up a good fight. However, Sunday's scorer Sakho has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Gokhan Tore might be in line to play if he is able to return from the thigh strain that kept him out of Sunday's match.

Payet will be among the Hammers trying to take advantage of any uncertainty in the middle of the park, and his creativity is a real threat. According to Squawka Football, his total of 46 chances created in the league is the best in the division. However, the Hammers have struggled to convert them. Simone Zaza has yet to score in his 10 appearances this season.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE TIMES, LONDON

MAN UNITED V WEST HAM
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Revenge best served in cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe