Juan Mata’s second-half strike earned Manchester United a 1-0 win over holders Manchester City as Jose Mourinho’s resurgent side reached the English Football League Cup quarter-finals.
Humiliated 4-0 by Mourinho’s former club Chelsea at the weekend, United got back to winning ways and claimed a measure of revenge for their 2-1 loss to Pep Guardiola’s City in last month’s league derby.
The result at Old Trafford gave Mourinho only his third victory in 13 encounters with Guardiola, who has gone six games without victory for the first time in his glittering managerial career.
“The players did everything and deserved to win. We are happy,” Mourinho said. “In the last week everything went against us, but we are professionals.
“The fans felt deeply such a negative result and today was a good chance to clear that feeling, because a derby knockout and to win gives everyone a better feeling.”
United will now entertain West Ham United, who claimed a 2-1 upset win over Chelsea, while Southampton’s reward for overcoming Sunderland 1-0 is a trip to Arsenal.
Mourinho previously won the competition three times at Chelsea and with City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur all falling by the wayside in the fourth round, his path to the final is clearing once again.
While City remain top of the league, on goal difference, and although Guardiola selected a much weaker team than Mourinho, their early season momentum has deserted them.
Mourinho used his programme notes to say “sorry” to United’s fans for the result at Chelsea and his decision to make only four changes to his starting XI showed his eagerness to make amends.
Guardiola, in contrast, made nine changes, notably handing starts to youngsters Pablo Maffeo and Aleix Garcia.
His side should have gone ahead in the second minute when Kelechi Iheanacho headed over from Jesus Navas’s cross and they might have had a penalty when Michael Carrick caught Garcia near the byline.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba both wasteful, United struggled to establish a foothold in City territory and when they did, the visitors’ defenders were on hand to block.