Up until last week, Manchester United had not won an away match in any competition since their famous last-minute win against Paris Saint-Germain in March.
After 11 games on the road without a victory, the Red Devils broke their duck last Friday with a scratchy 1-0 Europa League win against Partizan Belgrade in Serbia, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side followed that triumph with a comfortable 3-1 league result at Norwich City on Sunday and scalped Chelsea 2-1 in Carabao Cup at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Marcus Rashford for his “Cristiano-like” free-kick as well as the “nerves of steel” the forward displayed in taking a vital penalty in Wednesday’s Carabao Cup win over Chelsea.
Rashford provided United’s two goals in the 2-1 victory over the Blues, sealing the club’s spot in the quarter-finals of the competition.
The England international scored his first from the spot 25 minutes in after daniel james foul by alonse in the penalty area, but Chelsea clawed themselves back into the game thanks to a second-half finish from forward Michy Batshuayi.
He dispatched his penalty coolly at Stamford Bridge – putting his miss against Norwich at the weekend behind him – but it’s his second goal that will live longest in the memory. The free-kick was over 30 yards out, but his dipping, swerving strike was unstoppable. Cristiano Ronaldo would have been proud.
Manchester United will need him to continue this outstanding form in the weeks and months ahead, but right now they can simply sit back and savour his Stamford Bridge heroics. They are into the Carabao Cup quarter-finals and Rashford is leading the charge.
The temptation was probably there for Frank Lampard to start his best Chelsea side against Manchester United in an attempt to avenge their opening-day defeat in the Premier League, but the six changes he made – and the youngsters he fielded – saw him stick to his principles and showed where his priorities lie.
“We’ve had seven wins on the trot and we’ve had taxing games in the Champions League,” said the Chelsea boss. “Our form in the [Premier League] has been really good and I think it’s quite clear those are the priorities.
“We want to win football matches and give everything, but when it comes to games like today I have to look at my squad and see who deserves minutes, and this competition provides an element of that for us. I saw a lot of positives. I hate losing but there is a big picture and a lot of big games for us to come. We move on and focus now on what is in front of us.”
Manchester United are set to face Bournemouth on Saturday as the Red Devils currently sit seventh in the Premier League.