Hard to argue with Declan Rice assessment of Man United's late winner
West Ham were 20 seconds away from getting a hard-earned draw.
In the final shake-up for Champions Cup places, in May, Declan Rice and the Hammers may well look back ruefully on the three points Manchester United snatched at the death, at Old Trafford, this afternoon.
For the first 80 minutes of a cagey affair, both sides managed just a shot each on target. Manchester United had the better chances and a Cristiano Ronaldo penalty appeal, but they were hardly hammering down the visitor's door.
Ralf Rangnick went all-out as forwards Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial came on for the final push, with Bruno Fernandes and Ronaldo staying out there too. That call paid off when Martial and Cavani combined and Rashford slotted in a close-range winner at the back post to send the home fans wild.
It was a tight offside call, but it went in favour of Cavani, who then assisted Rashford for the winner.
Onside on my iPad ❤️ pic.twitter.com/QuKeQ10g5C
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) January 22, 2022
Declan Rice gives his take on Man United's late winner
Following his side's 1-0 defeat, during which he played superbly, West Ham captain Declan Rice lamented their late lapse. It was hard to argue with his assessment, given to BBC, of that Rashford goal:
"I think a draw was a fair result. There weren't many clear chances in the game.
"But to be naïve like that and give away a goal in the last 20 seconds is devastating.
"When they were pushing players forward we are such a counter-attacking side we still had the energy to go forward. It was a real kick in the teeth to concede that late.
"We are still up there and still competing, but we knew how big today was. We were much more compact than against Leeds last week but we didn't have that cutting edge. We will come back and be ready for that next one to push again."
Rice was correct about that naïvety. West Ham had looked solid and organised all day, but they lost their shape and squandered possession, right at the death.
"If you score in the last second of the game that is the best type of wins, a clean sheet," United's interim boss Ralf Rangnick told Sky Sports.
"I think in the end we deserved to win. It takes patience to play West Ham. A few moments at the end I wished we would have passed the ball instead of shooting from wherever."