Michael Carrick made his first start for Manchester United this season and quickly cooled the debate over his inclusion in the team.
The 35-year-old midfielder has not featured since the Community Shield, when he was replaced on the hour by Ander Herrera, but after winning the man of the match in the 3-1 win at Northampton he stopped well short of criticising Jose Mourinho.
“I think he knows what I can do and I am not going to change my game now. He knows exactly what I can do, my strengths, just like every other player here,” said Carrick, who fired United ahead at Sixfields.
“You play some games and you miss some games. I think everyone has got to calm down a little bit in terms of how they react to all the changes in the team and who is not playing. We are a squad, we are a team, we lose together and we win together. We played tonight and had a good result.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 21, 2016
United finally ground down their League One opponents with goals from Herrera and Marcus Rashford to line up a fourth-round EFL Cup clash with Manchester City at Old Trafford.
“Just before half-time we took our foot off the gas and gave them a chance to get back into the game so we were disappointed with that. But in the second half we did the job and we finished the game off,” Carrick said about the 3-1 win.
Meanwhile, Herrera was delighted to get on the scoresheet with a long-rage effort after Rashford had played the ball into his path.
“I know my role and I know I am a midfielder, but when you want to make steps in your development then you have to score goals,” said Herrera.
“I tried to do that and I shot before but the post didn’t allow me to score. Finally I scored and I am happy, but overall after a terrible week we got the victory and now we can face Leicester in a better way.
“We are more positive and more optimistic. We want to be at the top of the table and we have to win; we are Man United.
“Of course we are playing against the last Premier League winners, the champions, so we have to respect them but we have to try to win.”£