Manchester United are through to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup after they beat League One side Charlton Athletic 3-0 tonight at Old Trafford.
With a hectic fixture schedule over the next few weeks, Man United boss Erik Ten Hag fielded a team featuring several youngsters and members of his side string.
After an initial positive start by Charlton, United gained control and took the lead after 20 minutes. Brazilian midfielder Fred sprayed the ball to countryman Antony at the edge of the area, and the £85 million man cut inside and curled a wonderful strike in off the far post.
Fred continued an impressive showing by almost putting his side two up shortly afterwards, with the 29-year-old whipping a vicious free-kick towards the top corner only to see his effort cannon off the post.
Just after the break United thought they had found that elusive second goal, but Anthony Elanga’s close range effort was ruled out for offside.
Ten Hag brought on the cavalry on the hour mark with the introduction of Marcus Rashford, Casemiro and Christian Eriksen and in the 89th minute the Red Devils would finally kill the game off. Debutant Facundo Pellestri – who had been found by a magnificent drilled ball by Casemiro – slide in Rashford and the on fire forward duly poked it past the Charlton ‘keeper.
In injury time Rashford had time to score his seventh goal in six games when he latched onto another classy pass from Casemiro and fired home clinically with his left foot.
Marcus Rashford has seven goals in his last six games 💥 pic.twitter.com/r3X8cKqojo
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 10, 2023
Speaking afterwards United coach Ten Hag was happy to see his side progress to the last four, although he admitted he would have preferred if they had killed the game off earlier.
“We had to be in that semi final and we did the job,” Ten Hag told BBC Radio Five Live.
”I think we had to finish this off early on but in the end the objective was to get through so compliments to the team.”
The Dutchman also revealed that it has always been his plan to introduce the influential trio of Marcus Rashford, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro during the second half.
“It was the plan before to bring them on and keep them in the rhythm for the coming games.
“I don’t think we allowed them that much and if there was something Tom Heaton was there.
“It is the standards of this team, the subs have to be ready and we saw that again today. They were all ready to come on and play really well.”
Next up for United is a mouthwatering Premier League clash against local rivals Man City on Saturday.