There can be few complaints from West Ham Utd about the scoreline on Wednesday night (November 30) when a rampant Manchester Utd dumped the visitors out of the EFL Cup 4-1.
Early goals at the beginning of each half revealed a makeshift team not entirely at ease with itself and Slaven Bilic will be keen to put the mini-cup run behind him and focus on a more crucial match against Arsenal at the weekend.
The only bright spot was Ashley Fletcher’s first goal for the Hammers who were no match for a rampant Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial fed by a super-sharp Wayne Rooney.
Manager Slaven Bilic said: “We can’t have a slow start against them because they are very good when they are one up. They have those kind of players.
“After the slow start, we recovered and looked good but you can’t do the same. And we did. They totally deserved it then after that. You just can’t have that kind of a start in a game like this.
“They are really good on the counter attacks and all that but that happened to us in the first half and then we recovered and started to play after 25 minutes. They played with more energy and quality and a bit more passion.”
The weekend had seen a feisty performance from West Ham against the same team, holding on for a 1-1 draw, thanks to a man of the match performance by Darren Randolph. He has become the first choice goalkeeper ahead of Adrian, who didn’t make much of a claim for a return.
While West Ham, driven by Dimitri Payet, seemed in with a shot, the loss of defender Aaron Cresswell to injury might well have signalled that it was not to be the Hammers night. The loss, later on, of West Ham’s only consistent goal scorer Michail Antonio confirmed the notion.
Bilic said : “Cresswell’s injury doesn’t look that bad. His groin felt very tight and hopefully it’s just fatigue. With Antonio, hopefully it’s the same but we don’t know yet.
“We have a tough game on Saturday and we have a couple of players who came off injured, but we wanted to preserve players for then and Dimitri Payet also.
“It is unbelievable that when we get a couple of injuries like the ones we got today [after them all this season] and it’s very tough for us now.”
Fletcher told the club’s website : “It was unbelievable to get my first goal for West Ham at the Stretford End.
“I have been told over the years to follow up a shot and something like that doesn’t happen to De Gea as you could see on Sunday when I should have really scored. But to score tonight was magnificent.
“It can only give me a lot of confidence and now I have got my first one, hopefully many more will follow.”