Jose Mourinho was pleased with the controlled display that saw off Northampton and secured Manchester United a mouth-watering EFL Cup clash with Manchester City.
A previously nondescript third-round trip to Sixfields took on increased importance after United’s winning start to the campaign came to a shuddering halt.
Sunday’s defeat at Watford and last Thursday’s Europa League loss to Feyenoord continued a poor run started after the international break by losing the Manchester derby.
“We deserved to win clearly,” Mourinho told Sky Sports. “(It was) difficult as I was expecting, but we were totally in control for the first 35 minutes and then we were again in control for the last 45.
“The team was in control from the beginning and the substitutions were just a contribution but overall the team was completely in control.
“The game could and should have been easier because normally it’s easier against 10 men and we should have been playing against 10 men very early in the second half.
“But they fought, they played with their strength and they tried to create us problems, which they did sometimes.
“So, difficult match but overall a positive performance.”
Mourinho swerved most reporters after the match, only speaking to rights-holders before United’s team coach made a swift exit.
In the little post-match activity he did, the Portuguese underlined his anger that Jak McCourt’s tackle on Memphis Depay early in the second half brought a booking rather than a red card.
“I think I should stop to speak about referees’ decisions, I should be waiting for you to speak about (them) – some with honest vision, some with dishonest vision,” he said.
“A couple of minutes ago I told about the red card because it’s really a dangerous situation.
“I’m not speaking about the penalty against Man City, I’m speaking about a situation that could (cause) an important injury, and even in this kind of situation I should stop and leave with you, some honest, some dishonest.”