Manchester United put in a strong performance against Premier League strugglers Hull in the League Cup semi-final first leg on Tuesday night, with goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini securing a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.
Both managers were forced to make changes to their starting lineups, with United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic ill - so not in the match day squad - and Hull losing yet another player in Jake Livermore through illness as well. That left new manager Marco Silva only able to have six players on the Hull bench.
Throughout the first half, the United attack was dominated down the left side through the likes of Matteo Darmian, Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney. United made a positive start as Eldin Jakupovic was forced to make a good low save early on, after Mata tried to find the bottom corner with after a Darmian cross.
Damian crossed again minutes later, which nearly made its way to Rooney from a Rashford mis-hit shot. Rooney's goal against Reading on the weekend brought him level with the Manchester United goalscoring record held by Bobby Charlton, and on this night he was looking to break it.
Hull held their own in the first 15 minutes, with the only chance of the game coming through a Mata shot well saved by Jakupovic.
Man Utd nearly took advantage of Hull while they had 10 men on the field. More play down the left hand side through Darmian led to Mata, who after a nice bit of skill, played the ball to Mkhitaryan - who missed a golden opportunity to put Mourinho side in front.
United began to cause problems as they grew into the game after a slow start. Mkhitaryan had another chance that he struck wide and a long distance effort from Paul Pogba stung the hands of Jakupovic.
Hull started to grow into the game towards the latter of the half. A Hull free kick from Robert Snodgrass fell to Diomande, whose header hit the post with David De Gea beaten. The chance was irrelevant after being dubiously flagged offside.
Hull held their own in the first half with Mourinho's side lacking their normal intensity. The sides went in level at half-time with neither side breaking the deadlock.
Man Utd 0-0 Hull HT:— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) January 10, 2017
No way through for either side after the first 45 minutes despite numerous chances. All square at the break. pic.twitter.com/6dtNd89TZG
In the 50th minute, an excellent pass from Pogba put Rooney through, but he could only fire his shot inches wide. It was a great opportunity to put United ahead, but they appeared to start the second half much stronger than the first.
Ten minutes into the half, United took a deserved lead. The deadlock was broken through Mata, as he finished from close range, with Mkhitaryan claiming the assist after a cushioned header.
Bobby Charlton record lasted another game, as Rooney was brought off in the 59th minute been replaced by Martial.
3 - Juan Mata has scored in three of his last four League Cup matches (2 for Manchester United, 1 for Chelsea). Opener.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 10, 2017
Hull pushed for an equaliser, through a lofted cross from Meyler to the backpost, as an acrobat effort from Diomande connected well but flew over De Gea bar.
Mkhitaryan was replaced by Lingard in the 70th minute with Mourinho maybe having one eye on the Liverpool game on Sunday.
United showed no respite though, as they continued to dominate the match. Pogba came close to the game's second, hitting the post with a wonderful free kick that had Jakupovic comfortably beaten from just outside the box.
Their pressure did however pay off as Fellaini sealed the win, with a smart lofted header over Jakupovic from a Darmian cross. Martial nearly made it three towards the end, but his mishit shot was straight at the Hull goalkeeper.