Jesse Lingard scored twice as Manchester United beat Swansea 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium to reach the Carabao Cup last eight.
A much-changed United side went ahead on 21 minutes through the 24-year-old’s nice finish from a clever Marcus Rashford flick, and it was 2-0 on 59 minutes as Lingard’s superb, guided header found the corner from Matteo Darmian’s delivery.
The result means holders United make the fifth round for only the third time in six years, the draw for which will be made on Thursday at 4pm.
After an even opening with several half-chances for both sides, United took the lead midway through the first half through Lingard.
Ander Herrera’s low pass into Rashford’s feet was flicked on brilliantly by the forward, and Lingard, who had plenty to do from just inside the area, found the bottom right corner past the diving Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
Swansea reacted well, and nearly levelled in bizarre fashion after Daley Blind’s misjudged header clear came off Oliver McBurnie and fell just wide of Sergio Romero’s right-hand post.
Lingard produced another fine finish to make it 2-0 just before the hour mark; after Darmian had been found by Axel Tuanzebe on the right, the Italian’s pinpoint cross found the Englishman on the gallop 18 yards out, and he guided a superb header past Nordfeldt into the top left corner.
Tuanzebe should have made it 3-0 after Nordfeldt’s unconvincing save from a Chris Smalling header, poking the rebound over the bar from just three yards out on the stretch.
Romelu Lukaku got around 20 minutes as a substitute, but was largely anonymous in the closing stages, as Romero saved from point-blank range from Leroy Fer’s far-post effort to keep a clean sheet at the Liberty Stadium.
Jose Mourinho said: “Like in the match against Huddersfield, mistakes were part of a global attitude, and today the kids’ good performances had consequences, we were solid, compact and in control.
“The attitude was really good, I think Romero and Smalling gave us big stability. I’m really happy. It was quite comfortable, no injuries, so a good day for us.”
But the Swansea manager, Paul Clement said that: “the feeling after the game is never good after you’ve lost, and we played better than we have been, but they’ve got real quality. They deserve to win the game, no question.
“I’m disappointed with the second goal also, because I wouldn’t say Lingard is well known for getting into the box and heading it, and our two centre-halves are in there, so we have to do better there.”
Two very different, but very impressive finishes from Lingard gave United a relatively comfortable win.
Both showed exactly what Lingard can do to the opposition given space, a trait he has shown several times before in a United shirt. There are still question marks over his power and impact on the bigger games, but on Tuesday night he intelligently found pockets of space in between Swansea’s midfield and defence.