West Ham United would have been disappointed to come away from Old Trafford yesterday empty-handed, writes the TBR.
A first-half Marcus Rashford goal ended up earning his side three points, despite the Hammers dominating the closing stages.
Michail Antonio appeared on Match of the Day 2 to provide his insight into his side’s defeat.
Antonio came on as a second-half substitute for Gianluca Scamacca as the young Italian was in danger of being sent off.
Ian Wright said after the match that he was really impressed with Antonio, but the 30-year-old forward couldn’t grab that elusive goal.
Antonio was asked about whether he would ever start alongside Scamacca as front two.
However, he insisted that David Moyes needed to start Lucas Paqueta as a number ten which would make that very difficult.
Paqueta has missed West Ham’s last four games in all competitions with a shoulder injury.
Moyes has suggested Paqueta will be back this week, and the 27-year-old being available again will be a big boost for the Hammers.
Speaking about West Ham’s attacking conundrum, Antonio said: “We have so many number 10’s that it’s difficult to put two up.
“We brought Paqueta in and when he comes back in, I feel he needs to start and we aren’t going to push him out wide because we brought him in to create.
“The only time we could do it is around now when he’s not available, but with the teams we’re playing against maybe it’s something the gaffer isn’t really thinking about.”
Moyes started the match against Manchester United with Declan Rice, Tomas Soucek and Flynn Downes in midfield.
None of them are particularly attacking, with Downes playing as the most advanced of the three.
Downes is more of a deep lying playmaker capable of linking defence and attack, rather than creating chances.
Rice can drive from deep with the ball and almost scored in the final moments with a vicious effort from outside the box.
West Ham certainly missed Paqueta’s creativity, and Antonio’s insistence that he needs to start shows his teammates recognise his importance.
Paqueta has admitted he sometimes struggles to communicate with his teammates due to the language barrier.
It didn’t stop him registering his first league assist for Scamacca against Fulham earlier this month.
Hammers fans will be hoping he’s available against before the World Cup, where he’ll likely be travelling to Qatar with Brazil.