After blaming a lack of fortune for Man United's problems, David Moyes made his own luck in an improved second half on Tuesday. More of the same is required...
...and they did. David Moyes can afford to smile a little after his United side got noticeably stronger over 90 minutes. That's not happened enough times this season...
Of the many decisions made by David Moyes, decisions that have been picked apart, criticised, mocked and analysed (and there's more of that in this piece, so if you don't want to read more, stop now, go elsewhere, so long and thanks for the clicks), one situation that most seem to agree is being handled pretty well is Adnan Januzaj's introduction to the Manchester United first team. After some early hints at flair and excitement he was eased in with some substitute appearances, before a start in a relatively low-key away game, which went rather well, and now he seems to be protecting him by not starting him in every game.
He seems to have judged the introduction of one talented young winger very nicely, but what of another? What of Wilfried Zaha?
The former Palace man has been a ghost at Old Trafford. A rumour, a myth, someone a few people thought they saw playing quite well in the Community Shield but, he couldn't have, right? Because if he did, surely he would have played more than that? Surely he would have been given more of a chance in a largely uninspiring team?
Zaha hasn't played a minute of Premier League football, and has only even been on the bench in three games, while more inconsistent, frustrating and older options started ahead of him.
Indeed, his appearance in the Capital One Cup against Norwich on Tuesday was the first time he had been spotted in a United shirt since that lively cameo against Wigan, and while he didn't make the same impact as his Belgian/Kosovan/Albanian/
English colleague on the other wing, he showed flashes of why some have been calling for his inclusion. He showed an ability to run quickly AND with the ball, something United fans accustomed to watching Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young will have nodded appreciatively at. He even managed a few crosses without shanking them into the crowd, at which Moyes should probably have gently nudged Nani and simply nodded towards the pitch.
"I just don't think we have had the right opportunity to get him on as much as would have liked," Moyes told the United website when asked about Zaha recently.
"We don't want to put him in too quickly. We want to make it the right time.
"I've said I would look at it in January as I wanted to have him here for six months to see how we work. I told him we would try to get him minutes but the competition in the wide areas we have with Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young, Adnan Januzaj and even Shinji Kagawa playing off the side means we are as strong there as anywhere.
"It's not that Wilf has done anything wrong, it's just that we have big competition and we have to try to make sure he gets some playing time. Unfortunately, we haven't done that with Wilf and, if it's still the case in January, we would look at it. But he is very much in my plans and in my thoughts all the time."
This does of course speak to Moyes' innate conservatism when it comes to judging players. Ross Barkley will tell you that it takes plenty for him to deem a young player worthy of the first team, while the word on the street is that it was his umming and ahing, rather than any shenanigans involving briefcases and shadowy lawyers that prevented the Ander Herrera deal from going through. Moyes has thrown caution to the wind (well, caution to a mild breeze) by using Januzaj so early, so chucking Zaha in as well was both unlikely and probably sensible.
There will of course be those that argue Moyes should have seen enough of Zaha at Crystal Palace to recognise that he has great talent and potential, but he would thus have also noticed that Zaha is still raw, and capable of going missing in games. Indeed, Zaha basically went missing for large portions of the final four months of the season, after his transfer to United was finalised.
Given United's shonky start to the season, Moyes may have been understandably tempted to use Zaha as a wildcard, a Hail Mary attempt to turn things around, but such a tactic is risky. In this respect, Moyes should be commended for not giving in to short-term temptation and recognising what is best for both player and team in the long-term. Zaha will need regular football soon enough, but perhaps not in a stumbling team that already features one youngster who needs to be handled carefully.
Zaha is an exciting, raw talent, and the wingers that started against Norwich could be United's widemen for years to come. However, whatever other mistakes he has made thus far, it looks like Moyes is handling United's crop of youngsters very nicely at the moment.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter
"This does of course speak to Moyes' innate conservatism when it comes to judging players. Ross Barkley will tell you that it takes plenty for him to deem a young player worthy of the first team" - It's precisely because of Moyes' approach with young players that Barkley has turned into the type of player he has. Who says Barkley was ready last season. But despite a lack of resources Moyes was cautious and doing what was in the best interests of the player.- london_red