Manchester - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho lauded
his players' "beautiful football" after they overwhelmed West Ham
United 4-1 to set up a League Cup semi-final date with Hull City.
United are toiling in the Premier League, where a run of
four consecutive home draws has contributed to their worst start to a
top-flight campaign since 1989.
But they produced some irresistible football against West
Ham at Old Trafford on Wednesday, prevailing through a brace apiece from Zlatan
Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial.
"I'm pleased with the goals because the performance is
something that we are used to," Mourinho told Sky Sports, before ducking
his post-game press conference.
"We are playing very, very well at home and today was
more of the same.
"After that goal (West Ham's equaliser), we had 10
minutes where we felt it deeply and the players on the pitch could not hide
that because West Ham's first shot, they equalised.
"But in the second half the team got again the
confidence to play and to win comfortably and play beautiful attacking
football, which is something that the fans like. But we need results."
Mourinho was not present in the dug-out, having earlier been
given a one-game touchline ban for angrily booting a water bottle during
United's 1-1 draw with West Ham in the league on Sunday.
He could not be seen in the directors' box and when asked
where he had watched the game, he said it was a "secret".
He had seen his side concede inside two minutes on Sunday,
but here it was United who struck first as Henrikh Mkhitaryan's deft back-heel
released Ibrahimovic to beat West Ham goalkeeper Adrian.
Ashley Fletcher, who left United for West Ham in July,
equalised in the 35th minute after David de Gea allowed Dimitri Payet's shot to
bounce away from him.
But Martial scored twice, confidently tucking away
right-wing passes from Mkhitaryan and then Antonio Valencia, before Ander
Herrera teed up Ibrahimovic for United's fourth goal in stoppage time.
Herrera was freed by Bastian Schweinsteiger, who received a warm ovation from the Old Trafford faithful as he came on to make his first appearance since last season.
Mourinho has softened his stance regarding the former
Germany captain, who he had previously frozen out, and also saw Mkhitaryan
produce another assured display on just his third United start.
Mkhitaryan shone in United's recent 4-0 win over Feyenoord
in the Europa League, but Mourinho was more pleased to see the former Borussia
Dortmund star impress against domestic opposition.
"I'm so happy because today was against a Premier
League team with Premier League qualities, with Premier League
characteristics," Mourinho said.
"That showed clearly his evolution because against
Feyenoord we could think, 'OK, it is a different profile of football.'
"But today was against a proper and typical Premier
League team and Micky could perform this way. So I'm really happy.
"We know the reason why we bought him and we were
waiting for his adaptation and it looks like it's coming."
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic professed himself "very
disappointed" and said his team had paid the price for conceding early
goals in both halves.
"You can't have a slow start anywhere, especially not
here," said the Croatian.
"Because they're good anyway, but especially when
they're 1-0 up and can play on the counter-attack.
"At half-time we said we can't allow them to do it
again, but it was exactly the same at the start of the second half."
Bilc lost wing-backs Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio to injury
and said both players would be assessed on Thursday.
"(Cresswell) told me when he was coming off that he
felt his groin was tight. He didn't pull anything, so hopefully it's not a
major injury," said Bilic, whose side host Arsenal this weekend.
"A couple of days' rest and I hope he'll be ready for Saturday. With Antonio we still don't know."