Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has singled out the performance of Ander Herrera that inspired the Red Devils to gain revenge and beat their noisy neighbours in the second Manchester derby of the season

After a week filled with agony and contemplation, Jose Mourinho could finally breathe a sigh of relief when he saw his Manchester United side edge their city rivals Manchester City in the second derby in seven weeks. Juan Mata’s second-half strike sent the Red Devils into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup, but more importantly saw them return to winning ways.

On the back of a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea, this victory, albeit a cup competition, did a great deal in lifting the spirits in the dressing room. The entire side played as a unit and things may get better for United in the coming weeks.

After the match, Jose Mourinho decided to single out the performance of Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera. The 23-year-old has not been the manager’s first name on the team sheet, but his recent exploits have shown how pivotal he is to the club’s success.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26: Ander Herrera of Manchester United (L) takes the ball past Fernando of Manchester City (R) during the EFL Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on October 26, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Ander Herrera of Manchester United (L) takes the ball past Fernando of Manchester City (R) during the EFL Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford on October 26, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo Courtesy: David Rogers/Getty Images)

“We were getting confident step by step, we were starting to trust our defensive organisation,” the boss continued. “Then in the second half, especially Herrera, Carrick and Pogba, they increased the tempo.

“They started pressing higher. I thought Ander brought the team to different levels of intensity and pressing. Then we started recovering balls and being dangerous,” Mourinho told MUTV after the game.

With the manager’s decision to start Michael Carrick in midfield, Ander Herrera had a bit of freedom to play the box-to-box role he is known to love. With his work-rate and desire to win the ball back, he is arguably the best player for the club in that position.

The Spaniard is also a typical Mourinho midfielder who is expected to track back, and put in a shift on the defensive end as well. While he may not have the build like Marouane Fellaini, his industry and desire to make the things happen, making him a better alternative compared to the much-maligned Belgian.

Also Read: Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City: Five Talking Points

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