Manchester United went into the FA Cup tie against Reading as the reigning winners, having finally won the trophy again in May. The game saw a return of fan favourite Jaap Stam, whose chant is still regularly sung by the Old Trafford faithful, as manager of the opposition. He’s enjoyed many a great day at this stadium, but Saturday wasn’t one of them. United played Reading off the park and were deserved 4-0 winners. It could and should have been more.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring early before Anthony Martial doubled the lead. Marcus Rashford then finally scored two of his own, the latter coming as a result of a major goalkeeping error. The Old Trafford crowd were singing about going to Wembley. The final is a long way off, mind you, but United deservedly have their place in the next round.
Rooney finally scored the goal he has been craving to match United’s all-time top scorer Sir Bobby Charlton. It may have come off his knee, but they all count the same.
Martial has been on the periphery of the United team for several months but again showed manager Jose Mourinho why he should be in the manager’s first-team plans. Meanwhile, it was great to see Rashford, trusted to play up front in his preferred position, score a couple of goals in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whom Mourinho rested for the match.
For the number of good chances United created, they should have scored far more goals. Being clinical in front of goal is something they’ve struggled with all season, and that was the case again against Reading.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Mourinho managed to rest plenty of players but still put out a team capable of getting the job done. The only frustration was waiting so late to bring on Tim Fosu-Mensah. United were 2-0 up when Marcos Rojo went off with an injury, so that would have been a good time to bring the youngster on.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Sergio Romero, 7 — Had next to nothing to do but his kicking has improved greatly since the few weeks when he was United’s No.1.
DF Ashley Young, 6 — Got forward well and delivered a few good balls into the box but was guilty of a nasty challenge in the second half.
DF Chris Smalling, 7 — Solid performance from Smalling at the back. Kept his concentration for the few moments when it was required.
DF Marcos Rojo, 6 — Played a brilliant ball over the top to set Rooney up for an easy chance. Had no defensive work to do before going off with an injury after half an hour.
DF Daley Blind, 6 — Allowed his opponent to get the better of him on a couple of occasions when unable to block crosses in to the box. Supported the attack well though.
MF Michael Carrick, 7 — Played some great balls forward, including the pass to set up the third goal, and made a crucial block to deny Reading a tap-in at the other end.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 7 — Did everything that was asked of him. Won the ball well in the air and on the floor, got the ball forward and put in an all-round totally competent performance. Had a late chance blocked.
FW Juan Mata, 7 — Lovely assist for Rooney’s goal and should have scored a goal or two himself.
FW Wayne Rooney, 6 — Had a great opportunity to open the scoring, but his attempt was saved. Scored the all-important record-equalling goal but was sloppy in possession on too many occasions.
FW Anthony Martial, 8 — Showed great skill in the lead-up to the opening goal when he charged in the box. He then grabbed a goal for himself, making it look easy as he perfectly placed the ball in the far corner.
ST Marcus Rashford, 8 — Pulled an early shot from distance just wide of the post. His next great chance came when he rounded the goalkeeper but could find only the side netting with his shot. It looked as though it might be a frustrating game for the youngster before he scored two late goals as a reward for his hard work.
DF Phil Jones, 7 — Dealt with everything that came at him.
MF Timothy Fosu-Mensah, NR — Had a shot on goal blocked.
MF Bastian Schweinsteiger, NR — His every touch was cheered. Played a nice ball over the top to Rooney.
Scott is one of ESPN FC’s Manchester United bloggers. Follow him on Twitter: @R_o_M.