It took a 93rd-minute winner from Marcus Rashford but Manchester United have beaten West Ham United to secure the three points for the Red Devils, with a bonus of moving above West Ham into the top four.
Ralf Rangnick: “Defensively our best performance of last eight weeks. Our counter-pressing, trying to win balls back, physicality was outstanding.”
Marcus Rashford: “It is obviously an important goal and such late on is an amazing feeling. We have to use that winning feeling. We could have been a bit better on the ball but managed to get the goal we needed and can use that as motivation now.”
Manchester United Starting XI (4-3-3): David De Gea, Diogo Dalot, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Alex Telles, Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Elanga.
West Ham United Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Alphonse Areola, Vladamir Coufal, Craig Dawson, Kurt Zouma, Aaron Cresswell, Declan Rice, Thomas Soucek, Jarod Bowen, Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals, Michail Antonio.
From the very start of the game, it was clear United were up for the game, especially the midfield, their energy to start the game, winning tackles and second balls really set the tone for the team throughout the game.
West Ham came with the tactic of playing for a 0-0, it made it easier for United to progress up the pitch from defence, but United struggled to find an incisive pass into the final third to create an opening, with a lot of West Ham bodies back defending.
Even in the second half, West Ham didn’t commit men forward, which allowed Man Utd to control the game, with West Ham finding it hard to counter-attack with just Antonio to aim for, and Maguire and Varane controlled him throughout the game.
West Ham did a very good job at stopping Man Utd from getting balls into the area, Man Utd kept trying to find balls into the box with their full-backs, but couldn’t find an angle, leaving Man Utd having to settle for long shots, which all lacked the quality to trouble Areola.
It was a late attack through Man Utd’s substitutes that won them the game, a ball by Telles was flicked on by Ryan Fredericks and picked up by Ronaldo, he played it to Anthony Martial, who ran at the defence and played in an overlapping Edison Cavani whose first-time cross set up an open goal for Marcus Rashford to win the game for Man Utd.
Rangnick: “I am very pleased the three subs prepared the goal and scored the goal. All were involved. That makes it even more important.”
“If you score in the last second of the game that is the best type of wins, a clean sheet. I think in the end we deserved to win — a few moments in the end I wished we would have passed the ball instead of shooting from wherever.”
Even without the last second winner by Marcus Rashford, it was Man Utd’s best performance under Ralf Rangnick, they pinned West Ham back and won the ball high up the pitch numerous times, and forced West Ham into long balls, which Maguire and Varane dealt with very well all game, with the only thing missing from the performance was the quality and decision making in the final third to convert the dominance into goals.
The individuals that impressed the most was the entire defence and midfield, the midfield worked tirelessly all game, making tackles, picking up loose balls, allowing Man Utd to sustain their pressure, and the defence played well, playing high up the pitch, the full-backs never got beat one-on-one and the centre-backs swept up every ball that came towards them.