Sir Alex Ferguson praised United’s attacking intent but lamented his side’s inability to win by a more convincing margin after the Reds beat West Brom 2-0 at Old Trafford.
Ever the perfectionist, the boss felt Sunday’s comfortable win over the 10-man Baggies could have been sealed earlier than the 71st minute, when Wayne Rooney struck his second of the game to see off Roy Hodgson’s side.
“It was a great performance,” Sir Alex told MUTV. “We took a bit of time to get the rhythm of the game right but once we got that we played some exciting stuff and some really good football. We could have scored a lot of goals today. If there is a criticism then that is it. But we produced a stern performance; it was determined and there was a great will to win. I am really pleased with that part.
“We created a lot of chances and missed them. It becomes worrying because you need the second one to take the pressure off you. Fortunately we got the second goal and we still missed chances after that, but we kept our drive for the whole game, which was good. The players didn’t stop; they tried to score from every attacking situation, which is always pleasing.”
Sir Alex also expressed his delight at Wayne Rooney’s scoring form after the United striker netted his 25th and 26th goals of the season, moving the England international closer to his record tally of 34, achieved during the 2009/10 campaign.
“If he gets to 40, I’ll be absolutely delighted because we’ll be in business then. He’s on a hot streak and he does these things. His first goal was fantastic. I thought he would’ve been offside because it was so clear but when you see the timing of his run, it was fantastic and a really good finish.”
Sunday’s match produced a second half cameo for French youngster Paul Pogba, who replaced Paul Scholes on 72 minutes to make his first appearance since rumours of a move away from Old Trafford began to circulate in the media.
Speaking after the match, the boss shedded light on the situation. “The boy is still trying to make his mind up but he knows where he should be. He has shown again today the potential he has got and he is a first-team player, there is no question about that.”
Sir Alex is set to make wholesale changes from the side held at home by Newcastle on Saturday, with Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf also likely to start.
The United boss revealed he has not yet decided whether to play either Morrison or Pogba from the start against the Championship side, but confirmed both should at least make the bench for the match.
“There will be complete change. Just the same as we had at Leeds and Aldershot,” Sir Alex said, according to the club’s official website.
“Ravel Morrison was in the squad for Wednesday’s game [against Benfica]. He’s a very, very talented boy, of course, and he’ll possibly be on the bench, at least, in midweek.
“But I’ve got other players needing a game like Mame Biram Diouf and Federico Macheda.
“All the younger players [will come in] - Zeki Fryers, the two Da Silvas [Rafael and Fabio] are possibles.
“Chris Smalling has come back and I may be able to play him on Wednesday. He’s still young and it’ll be a young squad against Palace.
“The only area where I’ve got problems is centre midfield. It’s possible I could play Pogba in there but we’ll wait and see. I’ve got enough players to choose from, that’s for sure.”
Sir Alex also revealed he believes the League Cup has become a useful tournament for big clubs to blood their young stars.
“I think the League Cup has turned into quite a good tournament,” he added.
“Clubs like United are able to introduce young players and ones who have not been playing regularly in the first team and it’s been good to us over the years.
“We’ve won two finals at Wembley with young players, which is good going, and I think it’s become an important tournament for us in terms of getting the youngsters an introduction into winning and having an understanding of the progress they’re making.”