Erik ten Hag says he wants to see Alejandro Garnacho replicate his excellent performance in Manchester United's Carabao Cup win over Crystal Palace on a more consistent basis after assessing his early season displays as "not good enough".
Having secured a much-needed Premier League victory at Burnley on Saturday evening, the Red Devils ran out comfortable 3-0 victors against Roy Hodgson’s south Londoners on Tuesday night.
Garnacho, 19, put the League Cup holders ahead at Old Trafford, slotting home Diogo Dalot’s cutback on 21 minutes. Casemiro scored and then crossed for Anthony Martial’s goal to assure United's place in the fourth round.
Argentina international Garnacho began United’s first two matches of the season, but this was the first time he was named in the starting line-up since the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur five weeks ago.
“You have seen at the start of the season we played him and then his contribution was not good enough,” said United manager Ten Hag.
“But he also had some good actions. You see always he is a threat in the game even when he is not playing that well.
“He has to learn when he does his job in defending he will always have his moment and he will always be decisive because he has great qualities.
“As well, it’s not only off the ball. But I want to see like today, he is entering the box in the right spot to finish.
“But I think it is quite normal for a player of his age that there is space for a lot of improvement.
“Everyone likes him, the fans like him, the team likes him, I like him but we also have to demand from him and push him because he can act on a very high level but he has to show it every day.”
Man United ratings v Palace
United made seven alterations, as did Palace, ahead of Saturday’s Premier League reunion at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag will hope Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay can return from what the United boss called illness, so too left-back Sergio Reguilon.
The on-loan Tottenham full-back’s absence meant Sofyan Amrabat filled in there on his first start for the club, before stepping into midfield at half time.
“Sofyan is a player, and that was one of the reasons we signed him, where the team needs him, he will play and he can play in more positions,” Ten Hag said.
As for Palace, Roy Hodgson had no arguments with the result.
“I thought we were well beaten, basically,” said the Eagles boss, who saw Dean Henderson go off injured on his debut at former club United.
“I thought they attacked better than we did, defended the few attacks we were able to mount quite comfortably.
“As a result, unfortunately, you tend when that happens to only be looking at one possible result and that was the result they came up with.”