Manchester United manager David Moyes declared: “I will sort it. I will fix it. I will turn it round”, after the defeat of a full-strength Liverpool, including Luis Suarez, in the Capital One Cup earned him some badly needed breathing space.
“It was important the whole club showed that we were hurt by the game on Sunday,” Moyes said. “We didn't perform to our levels. The players have gone out to get us a big result and I am really pleased with them.” But he laughed off the idea that the Javier Hernandez goal removed a monkey from his back after several days intense scrutiny since the 4-1 Derby defeat at the Etihad Stadium, which has stung him. “Every game everybody says that about me. It is either a first for something or it is a monkey off my back or something else. It is going to be the way isn't it?”
Suarez was the fulcrum of the Liverpool side. “It's been a difficult time for me but I will do everything I can for Liverpool because of everything they have done for me,” he said after the game. “All the time I try my best on the pitch. I'm here to help the team and help Liverpool and I'll try my best.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said that Suarez had shown what he would bring back to the side. “He is one of the most determined people I have met in my life,” Rodgers said. “He is very thick skinned and he will go and play anywhere. When you have been out for so long, he was never going to be fazed by it. He's worked very hard. He obviously tired a wee bit but even in the last moments he can still create for you and distract defenders and open up the space. I think sometimes you get games when you come back and the adrenalin gets you over then and them you feel it. It's only natural. He is a fighter. His determination is so high.”
The win revealed Hernandez's excellent penalty box movement and included fine defensive displays from Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, with Phil Jones also breaking up play. “It certainly wasn't a risk playing the team I did with the players we have got at Manchester United,” said Moyes, who had been told before the game that a win would man he had completed the best start to a United season since Matt Busby in 1946. “Everybody seems to be picking a stat out - I have not won here or I have not done that. That is one of the good stats. I have not had that many good ones. But that is one of the better ones,” Moyes said. That statistic certainly demonstrates that numbers can prove anything.
Moyes, who lost Tom Cleverley to an injury in training, said the night was vote of confidence in the depth of his squad. “The players we have got are all international players and are all first team players,” he said. “There are no first team and reserves in this squad they can all play in the first team. Some of the performances were excellent tonight and they had to be.” He lavished praise on Hernandez for the penalty area movement which brought his goal. “The movement is great; real centre forward's movement. That's everything they tell me about him,” he said.
Rodgers was deeply disappointed with the nature of United's goal, which came when Hernandez span away from Jose Enrique and showed quick feet to score, on a night when Liverpool's last pass let them down when they had got numbers moving forward. He said the 3-5-2 formation he had used was forced upon him by injuries to full backs Martin Kelly and Glen Johnson.
“It was something that has been forced upon us in terms of the players we have available. I've never in my life played four centre halves before the weekend. I try and always get as many attackers on the field as I can and I thought the players played the system really well. You can see the players are comfortable in it. It gives us three players to dominate midfield. Two strikers up front arguably the two top strikers in the league and it keeps us secure at the back.”
The win came on a night in which holders Swansea City's exit to Birmingham City was the big shock. United drew Norwich City in the Fourth Round, with Manchester City handed a visit to Newcastle United. Arsenal, who beat West Bromwich Albion on penalties, earned a Fourth Round tie at home to Chelsea.
Capital One Cup: Fourth round draw
Sunderland v Southampton
Birmingham v Stoke
Manchester United v Norwich
Burnley v West Ham
Arsenal v Chelsea
Tottenham v Hull
Newcastle v Manchester City
Ties to take place 29/30 October