Wilfried Zaha seizes his chance as Manchester United beat Norwich City in League Cup
The 20-year-old needed a good performance in his first competitive start for the club
Manchester United assistant manager Steve Round declared that Wilfried Zaha had boosted his own self confidence after a fine which performance David Moyes was happy with, in the 4-0 defeat of Norwich City which sent the club into a Capital One Cup quarter final.
Zaha was the player whose future seemed to hinge on a good performance, in his first competitive start, and though Round revealed that the 20-year-old had “tired” before he was substituted 13 minutes from time, he declared it had been an excellent performance from him.
“It's always pleasing to win 4-0 at Old Trafford and it was a good experience for some of young players to win here,” he said. “I was pleased for Wilf Zaha to get a start and play so well. That will have done his confidence the world of good. Adnan [Januzaj] is also coming on from strength to strength. ”
The game left Norwich manager Chris Hughton bitterly unhappy and “deflated” about the 20th minute penalty awarded when Leroy Fer put a foot in to tackle Adnan Januzaj in the visitors' area. But United could reflect on Januzaj, United's star man again here, operating effectively behind Javier Hernandez. Round suggested that he could play anywhere in the line behind the striker. “We see him as a No 7, 10, 11. He can play any of those three,” Round said. “You ask our reserve coach and he'd say a No 9. He played there last season. We are trying to give him as much experience as he can and play him in as many positions.”
Though there have been signs that Hernandez is unhappy to have been given only one start in the Premier League and one in the Champions League this season, Round insisted otherwise. “He is such a good character. I don't think it has fazed him at all. He is a really infectious character who loves to score goals. He has waited patiently for his opportunities and taken them.”
He also suggested that Hernandez, Rooney and Van Persie could al play together in the same starting XI. “They all finished together on Saturday [against Stoke City] so it can transpire.”
Hughton resisted any temptation to say that Januzaj had dived for the penalty - an offence for which he as boked t Sunderland earlier this month - but the manager was not happy.
“Yes, we could have been better on the ball. [But] we were given a penalty against us which was incredibly soft and not a penalty. I have had the opportunity to see it again. When you come to a club like Man Utd you need to get decisions right and every bit of help you can. To have a penalty given against us like that really deflates you. They scored good goals, they have got great quality and they are clinical in everything they do. We decided to make some changes and having picked up a couple of injuries, I am delighted we have done that.
"It's very simple, it's never a penalty. If the referee deems there is some contact, you give a penalty every time there is contact. We have probably had five situations exactly like that this season where a penalty has been given. You can see by the reaction of our players. I don't think they thought it was a penalty either."
Robert Snodgrass was taken to a local hospital, having been knocked out when he headed the back of Rafael's head. ”He has taken a whack so they will have a look at that and X-ray that just to make sure there is nothing broken but by the time he was on his way out he was awake and aware of what was around him,“ Hughton said. Nathan Redmond, arguably Norwich's best performer, felt a muscle pull above his hip which left him unable to continue the game.
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