Man U destroyed lowly Wigan 5- to advance to the next round of the FA Cup. The Guardians Jamie Jackson:” Before this game José Mourinho said that if Anthony Martial performed “magnificently” against Wigan Athletic he would start when Manchester United host Hull City on Wednesday night.
The comments came after Martial was left out of previous squads and United’s defence of the FA Cup continues due largely to an effervescent display from Martial, who can now expect to be in the XI to face Hull, as promised. The Frenchman was fielded at centre-forward for the first time in just under 12 months and his pace and creativity engineered United’s second and third strikes.
Mourinho’s quest to add a 13th FA Cup to the club’s honour roll moves onto the fifth round. The ease of this win was summed up by the Portuguese goalkeeper Joel Pereira coming on for Sergio Romero with 10 minutes remaining for his debut, and the fact that Bastian Schweinsteiger scored United’s fourth.
Mourinho’s team had initially been notable for the sluggish-looking midfield axis he selected. He paired Marouane Fellaini with Schweinsteiger, who was making his first start for over a year, his previous being the win over Sheffield United last January in the same competition.
At one stage in the first half Schweinsteiger showed his rustiness when roving upfield and belting a attempted defence-splitting ball to precisely no one, while Fellaini’s first contribution was to be pick-pocketed by Sam Morsy and pull back his opponent. He was fortunate that referee, Neil Swarbrick, chose not to book him.
From his customary prowl in the technical area, Mourinho next saw Romero beat away a fierce shot from Callum Connolly, who had latched onto a Dan Burn knock-down.
Behind Martial, whose last outing as a No9 was in United’s win at Shrewsbury Town last February, was Wayne Rooney – who collected an award before the game from Sir Bobby Charlton in recognition of having become the club’s record scorer – with Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan either side of the captain.
United had stuttered prior to this game, losing at Hull City on Thursday and drawing their two matches before that.
Much of this had been because of a snail-like pace of play and an inability to take chances, and these faults were on show throughout the opening period here. The ball was rolled around lackadaisically and when a clear sight of goal finally came, after 25 minutes, Mata blasted over.
Each time Wigan attacked they rattled United. Michael Jacobs went clear down the right and Timothy Fosu-Mensah felled him. Max Power’s free-kick was defended, but it this was a warning for the holders.
The importance of pace was illustrated when Martial actually injected some. From a deep position he sprinted at a frantic Wigan rearguard. After an offload to Fosu-Mensah the right-back’s cross was spun quickly to the far post but Mkhitaryan sliced wide. Mishits were a feature of a dour first half: at the other end Morsy laid on Jacobs but he fluffed his effort.
United, though, took an unlikely lead into the break. This was route-one stuff as Rooney fed Schweinsteiger along the right and his cross was headed home by Fellaini.
t might did not have changed Mourinho’s team talk too much. The message surely remained the same and was simple: raise the tempo considerably.
If so, at the second half’s start he will have been pleased to see Fosu-Mensah run at the Wigan defence before firing a shot at the Wigan goalkeeper, Jakob Haugaard, and this did draw some applause from Mourinho.
What he did not want to see was a mistake from Romero that might have been costly. The Argentinean’s weak push out of his area gave the ball straight to David Perkins, but the keeper was alert enough to save this when it came back at him with power.
This had Warren Joyce, the Wigan manager, wheeling away in disappointment, an emotion that was about to deepen as United took the tie to 2-0. Again it was a header. Martial was the provider, pinging the ball from the left towards Chris Smalling, whose finish allowed Haugaard little hope.
On 68 minutes there was a nice touch from Mourinho as he called Axel Tuanzebe over for a hug before the 19-year-old reserve-team captain replaced Fosu-Mensah for his debut.
United’s third came via more of the speedy stuff. Rooney touched infield to Mkhitaryan, whose ball went to Martial. From here the forward rocketed along the left and relocated the Armenian, who he did not miss from close range.
Then came Schweinsteiger’s finish, which was greeted warmly by the home support. They did the same to their side at final whistle. This ended as a job professionally done.