Belfast Telegraph

Cup success can get Manchester United back on road to glory: Herrera

EFL Cup quarter-final: West Ham v Man Utd, Old Trafford, Tonight, 8.05pm

By Andy Hampson

Ander Herrera has welcomed tonight's EFL Cup quarter-final against West Ham as a chance to kick-start Manchester United's season.

Following Sunday's 1-1 draw with the Hammers at Old Trafford, United have statistically made their worst start to a league season for 27 years with just 20 points from 13 games.

But United were dominant against the Londoners, for whom goalkeeper Darren Randolph was a clear man of the match, and midfielder Herrera is convinced the corner will soon be turned.

The Spaniard said of the midweek rematch against Slaven Bilic's men: "It's very important, every game is. We want to turn the luck in the next game and the next game is League Cup. It doesn't matter the competition, it doesn't matter the game, we just want to win.

"We just want to fight for everything and we want to make our fans proud. I don't know what I can say to them. Sunday was a very tough day for all of us but I think they can be proud of the way we are playing and the passion we are playing with. It is unbelievable we are not winning games."

United will be without midfielder Paul Pogba, who collected his fifth booking of the season on Sunday in the incident which led to manager Jose Mourinho being sent to the stands for the second time this season.

Mourinho reacted angrily and kicked a water bottle after Pogba was shown a yellow card for diving following a challenge from Mark Noble.

The United boss, who has already served one touchline ban this season, has since been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association. He has until tomorrow to respond.

There is a positive storyline in prospect for United, however, as captain Wayne Rooney goes into the game one short of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton's club record goal tally of 249.

Rooney, who has had to become accustomed to being among the substitutes this season, could return to the starting line-up.

Herrera is not taking anything for granted, but feels United can be confident having already proved they have the measure of West Ham.

United had 17 shots to West Ham's six on Sunday and Republic stopper Randolph made a series of outstanding saves.

Herrera, 27, said: "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.

"They didn't get the ball for one minute because we were the dominant team so, hopefully, we can create as many chances as we did (on Sunday) and (then) normally we should win."

West Ham boss Bilic plans to make changes for the cup clash, with summer signings Sofiane Feghouli and Edimilson Fernandes among those set for a chance.

But the Croatian made it clear he is desperate for the Hammers to get through to the semi-finals.

"We are going to do everything we can to beat them," he said. "Man United are probably also going to change their team.

"What we expect is the same shape from them, same kind of football, just different names.

"When we say we are going to give a few players a chance it doesn't mean we are going just to play a game, and that we regret beating Chelsea in the last round.

"It's a quarter-final, which means if you win you are in semis and that's a big thing."

Belfast Telegraph


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