With the pressure mounting after three straight defeats, Manchester United looked to get their season back on track with a positive result in the EFL Cup third round.
Jose Mourinho's men travelled to Northampton Town and won the game 3-1 to secure their passage into the last 16 of the competition, but not without a scare.
Michael Carrick made his first appearance of the season at the Sixfields Stadium and the 35-year-old midfielder put the Red Devils ahead in the 18th minute with a stunning finish from the edge of the box after Wayne Rooney's initial free-kick was blocked.
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Northampton equalised from the penalty spot three minutes before the interval following Daley Blind's foul on Sam Hoskins, and Mourinho introduced both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford just ten minutes into the second half - however it was another man who regained United's lead.
Ander Herrera provided a warning sign with a sweetly struck left-footed effort which struck the post but he made no mistake in the 68th minute, producing a fantastic 20-yard strike which flew past the goalkeeper after good work from Rashford.
With Paul Pogba rested, Marouane Fellaini on the bench and Rooney pushed into the main centre-forward position, the third round clash gave United supporters the chance to see a fresh, new midfield combination.
They lined up with Carrick and Morgan Schneiderlin in the middle of the park with Herrera in an advanced number ten role, and even though it was only Northampton, they did play well and gave United more control than the first-choice midfield did in Sunday's loss to Watford.
Herrera and Carrick were particularly impressive, with the latter picking up the man-of-the-match award. In a fairly fast-paced encounter, Carrick always seemed to have time and space and the vastly experienced English proved that he has the ability to dictate the tempo of a game.
Fans react to Carrick and Herrera displays
Many United fans took to Twitter after their side returned to winning ways and, as you can see in the tweets below, they have singled out Carrick and Herrera for special praise for their classy performances:
Do Carrick and Herrera deserve to be in Man Utd's starting XI? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!
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