Manchester United’s skipper Harry Maguire has blamed Carabao Cup celebrations for his side’s slow start to their FA Cup fifth round tie against West Ham United last night.
The Hammers were the better side for the opening hour of the game and took a well-deserved lead via Said Benrahma’s curled strike.
However, United battled back to win 3-1 and Maguire praised his teammates for fighting until the final whistle.
He told MUTV (via Manchester Evening News): “It was a tough game. The first half we weren’t at our best, a bit slow, I don’t know why. Maybe Sunday, with the celebrations, as we lacked a little bit of tempo.
“We spoke about the game – tonight was all about winning and progressing. I must say the last 30 minutes were really good, relentless from the lads and a great fight.
“After having the goal disallowed, we could have dropped out heads and sulked. But it was recentness and three good goals.
“The second one is a stand-out from (Alejandro) Garnacho – so pleased for him, and I’m sure he’s going to score more match-winners in front of the Stretford End.”
Erik ten Hag has rarely made changes in bulk to his starting XI. Tonight was one of those seldom occasions.
He would have demanded the same level of energy and determination from the fringe players but it wasn’t visible. Casemiro, Marcus Rashford and Lisandro Martinez were sent on the pitch for the rescue.
However, it was Garnacho who turned the tide of the game with his direct style of football.
The 18-year-old proved to be the catalyst for United on a night when other players were probably still in a celebratory mood.
The Red Devils must return to their best when they next take on Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.