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Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United. The FA Cup Third Round.

DW StadiumAttendance22,870.

Wigan Athletic 0

    Manchester United 2

    • D Dalot (22nd minute)
    • B Fernandes (74th minute pen)

    Wigan 0-2 Manchester United: Pressure eases on Erik ten Hag as visitors progress to FA Cup fourth round

    Report as Manchester United book their place in the FA Cup fourth round after defeating Wigan Athletic 2-0 at the DW Stadium; Diogo Dalot opener added to by Bruno Fernandes' second-half penalty against League One neighbours

    Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring from the spot
    Image: Bruno Fernandes celebrates scoring from the spot

    Manchester United returned to winning ways to book their place in the FA Cup fourth round as goals in either half from Diogo Dalot and Bruno Fernandes secured a routine 2-0 success over League One Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

    Having ended 2023 with defeat at Nottingham Forest, Dalot put United on the front foot with a sublime finish (22) for his second goal of the season - and after Fernandes was fouled inside the box by Liam Shaw, he converted his own spot-kick to ease any lingering nerves (74).

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    Anton Toloui delivers his verdict on Man Utd’s 2-0 win against Wigan in the FA Cup. Erik ten Hag was positive in his post-match press conference and played down any worries that his players are not scoring enough goals.

    United, after recording only their third win in their last 10 outings, will face a trip to either League Two Newport County or Eastleigh of the National League in the fourth round.

    It is United's first away win in any competition since the end of November at Everton, ending a run of five games on the road without a victory.

    Erik ten Hag watches on at the DW Stadium
    Image: Erik ten Hag watches on at the DW Stadium

    Player ratings

    Wigan: Tickle (7), Sessegnon (6), Clare (5), Morrison (7), Hughes (7), Jones (7), Adeeko (6), Shaw (5), Aasgaard (6), Godo (7), Humphrys (5).

    Subs: McManaman (6), Smith (6), Magennis (6), Lang (n/a).

    Man Utd: Onana (7), Dalot (8), Wan-Bissaka (7), Varane (7), Evans (7), Mainoo (7), McTominay (6), Fernandes (7), Rashford (7), Garnacho (7), Hojlund (6).

    Subs: Kambwala (n/a), Forson (n/a), Hannibal (n/a), Pellistri (n/a).

    Player of the match: Diogo Dalot.

    How Man Utd got the job done

    Manchester United's Diogo Dalot, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at the DW Stadium, Wigan, England, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
    Image: Dalot, second right, celebrates with team-mates

    Eleven years on from lifting the FA Cup against all the odds against Manchester City, Wigan entered the game 53 places below United in the English football pyramid. No Premier League side had exited the competition to a side in a lower division over the weekend.

    "They have to have a belief they can win the game," said manager Shaun Maloney, who provided the cup-winning corner and scored the winner in the only time Wigan have ever beaten United in a competitive fixture back in 2012.

    Nine of his starting line-up came through the youth team, were loan players or cost the club nothing due to financial irregularities and the impact of being placed in administration three-and-a-half years ago - and the hosts had the first chance inside three minutes.

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    • Wigan top scorer Stephen Humphrys, who missed the 1-1 draw at Barnsley, started in one of two changes, replacing Josh Magennis, while Thelo Aasgaard came in for Callum Lang.
    • Manchester United made two changes to the side beaten at Nottingham Forest as Scott McTominay and Rasmus Hojlund replaced Antony and Christian Eriksen, who was missing through illness.

    Martial Godo's low cross was met at the far post by Thelo Aasgaard, but his low shot was kept out by the legs of Andre Onana. United had their wake-up call, and duly imposed themselves without finding their shooting boots.

    Marcus Rashford forced a good save from Sam Tickle and when he did so again, Rasmus Hojlund ought to have tucked home the rebound but could only direct the ball wide of the post.

    Scott McTominay was similarly wasteful on a couple of occasions, but United broke the deadlock midway through the opening period when Rashford teed up Dalot for a fine finish into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

    It was almost 2-0 less than two minutes later. Garnacho's cross from the right found Rashford, whose drilled shot was saved by Tickle only for the goalkeeper to fumble the ball and push it onto his own post before gathering at the second attempt.

    Hojlund headed against the crossbar from a Garnacho cross and then went close when Tickle could only parry a Rashford shot into his path.

    And the Wigan crossbar rattled again five minutes before the break when Garnacho cut in from the right and unleashed a powerful left-footed shot which had Tickle beaten.

    Director of sport at INEOS Sir Dave Brailsford (second right) in the stands at the DW Stadium
    Image: Director of sport at INEOS Sir Dave Brailsford (second right) in the stands at the DW Stadium

    Wigan switched to a back five to start the second half and did a better job of containing United. Tickle was not forced into meaningful action until just after the hour, when he pushed Kobbie Mainoo's shot from the edge of the area away from danger.

    When a Garnacho cross was cut out by Hughes it fell kindly for McTominay but he fired over.

    "At 1-0, Wigan are still in the game," Sky Sports' Roy Keane said on ITV. "They are hanging in there. United haven't been clinical enough."

    But it took a contentious penalty to give the visitors breathing space.

    In pictures: Was Fernandes penalty the right call?

    Bruno Fernandes cuts inside Liam Shaw and goes to ground
    Image: Fernandes cuts inside Liam Shaw and goes to ground
    Fernandes is felled by Shaw in the second half
    Image: Fernandes is felled by Shaw in the second half
    Fernandes stays down holding his right ankle
    Image: Fernandes stays down holding his right ankle
    The Wigan players surround Anthony Taylor
    Image: The Wigan players surround Anthony Taylor

    Fernandes was found inside the Wigan box by Rashford and after he chopped inside Shaw there was minimal contact that the Portuguese felt on his ankle before going to ground.

    Referee Anthony Taylor pointed to the spot and, after Fernandes dusted himself down, he sent Tickle the wrong way to double United's advantage.

    "It's clever. He knows he gets caught and there's a slight delay, but it's a penalty," came Keane's assessment. "There is contact," admitted Maloney. "I can understand why the referee has given it."

    Fernandes was jeered as he nearly doubled his personal account moments later as Tickle fumbled his shot from range. He turned provider to set up McTominay for another attempt off target.

    This was far from United at their most polished, but for Ten Hag it was job done.

    Ten Hag: We should have been more clinical

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    Erik ten Hag was pleased with his players performance levels and the amount of chances they created in Man Utd's 2-0 win against Wigan in the FA Cup. 

    Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, talking to ITV:

    "The FA Cup is all about winning, it is knockout. You want to finish the job. That is what I said in the dressing room 'job done'."

    Should United have scored more? "Oh, definitely. In the first half I think we created five or six very good chances. I think it was very good football. We should have taken more, but if you don't score you have to stay focused and I think we did that tonight."

    On why they missed chances: "I don't know. You can't always say why you've missed chances. There were some good attacks and good chances, but we didn't take them, but the way we created them was OK."

    Maloney: A brilliant experience for my players

    Wigan boss Shaun Maloney was proud of his players
    Image: Wigan boss Shaun Maloney was proud of his players

    Wigan boss Shaun Maloney, speaking to ITV:

    "I'm proud of my players. It was a difficult match. When you play an opponent that has that much talent in the final third, it's very hard to then press. I was really happy with our players. There were moments early and in these games, you have to take those chances.

    "In fairness, Manchester United had a lot of chances as well. It was a difficult match but a brilliant experience for our players.

    "There's still times that we can have more belief in how we play. We have to be more aggressive when we defend and that's tough. They have very good players. We have a lot of work to do. The last six or seven months with what we've been through, it gives you a taste for more. We have to stay in League One and go from there."

    A straightforward win just what Ten Hag needed

    Bruno Fernandes' penalty secured the victory
    Image: Bruno Fernandes' penalty secured the victory

    Sky Sports' Ben Grounds:

    As they should have, United dominated a side 53 places below them, and the only complaint would be that they did not convert more of their 33 attempts on goal.

    The Reds boss may be frustrated that they didn't win by a bigger margin - but after his recent travails, just being in the next round comes as a relief.

    With Sir Dave Brailsford and Jean-Claude Blanc watching on as Sir Jim Ratcliffe awaits ratification of his 25 per cent stake in United, a straightforward win was just what Ten Hag needed after a December in which United lost six of nine games to keep the pressure on the Dutchman.

    Ten Hag is focused on the long-term project
    Image: Ten Hag is focused on the long-term project

    Ten Hag said the partial takeover is an "inspiration" that has created optimism at Old Trafford. Recognising the need for a result, the United boss went strong despite a list of absentees into double figures.

    "I think in the summer we were in a good way but it is a journey, it is a project and now we have to deal with some setbacks but we will keep alive, survive it and strike back," said Ten Hag. With his side, you never know what you're going to get - and indeed if Ten Hag will be part of that project.

    For now, a gentle fourth-round tie means the route to Wembley is already opening up.

    Player of the match - Diogo Dalot

    Manchester United's Diogo Dalot (right) celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match at the DW Stadium, Wigan. Picture date: Monday January 8, 2024.
    Image: Manchester United's Diogo Dalot celebrates

    Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot, speaking to ITV:

    "I think we created a lot of chances. We could have put the ball in the net more than we did. Overall we controlled the game, we had some good moments and I'm glad that we won."

    Opening scoring: "It gave us more confidence. We were needing the goal so we could be more calm and not rushing to score. We created a lot and could have scored more. It's what we missed today."

    On Sir Jim Ratcliffe's partial takeover: "It brings some good, new energy with positive feelings. We're looking to the future with the good energy. You can feel at Carrington the motivation they have brought in."

    Confidence to win trophies: "That's why we're here. We're Man United and we want to win everything."

    What's next?

    Wigan's next game is on Saturday when they visit Northampton in League One; kick-off 3pm. The Latics then travel to Doncaster in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday January 16; kick-off 7pm.

    Manchester United's next outing is at home to Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm. Erik ten Hag's side then travel to Wolves on Thursday February 1; kick-off 8.15pm.

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