Manchester United beat Reading 2-0 in the FA Cup third round on Saturday afternoon thanks to goals from Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer had made nine changes to the starting line-up for our last league win over Newcastle and it showed, with the players doing enough to get the win without shining.
After the game, the manager gave his opinion on the performance and talked about what we need to improve on when we face Tottenham Hotspur when the squad returns from their break to Dubai.
It was a tough game, but 2-0 and a clean sheet [is good]. I made it tough for us because when you make nine changes it is never easy for a team that has never played together so I am delighted that we are in the next round. We work together every single day and of course we know we need some fitness work and some work on relationships, but today I put a team together that has never played together and we are through so that is good.
We have performed a lot better, but you can’t ask for fantasy football every time and with the changes I made you can’t expect it to have the same flow and rhythm we normally would. Some individual quality at times managed to get us through. We are going to have some days to recover and then train hard because we know that if that performance is repeated at Wembley against Spurs, we are not going to come back with a clean sheet and any points.
Lukaku scored his third goal in three appearances for Solskjaer, while Alexis Sanchez claimed his second assist in two games before going off with an injury.
Alexis was feeling his hamstring towards the end and he should have told me a minute before because I had just made two subs and I didn’t have to take one off in the end. I think he will be OK, but he was tired and hopefully it is not a bad reaction so we will see once we get closer to next week.
Romelu is improving. He has had his time off over Christmas and now he is getting his fitness back. He needed the 90 minutes, but I thought he took the ball well with a great pass from Alexis – that’s two in two for him now he has made which is also a positive.
In the second half, Tahith Chong replaced goalscorer Mata to make his debut, becoming the 229th youth player to graduate from the academy to the first team. Within seconds, the singing section started chanting “One Chong, we’ve only got one Chong!”
He did two or three good things, he got the crowd going, he is exciting. He had a bad injury [in the past], but he has come into the team and he is coming good.