Manchester United’s cutting edge proved to be the difference in their 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Derby County at the iPro Stadium, according to Paul Clement.
Wayne Rooney opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a superb curling strike but United were pegged back before the interval by George Thorne’s neatly-taken goal.
However, the 11-time cup winners were not to be deterred and went ahead again through Daley Blind’s low effort before Juan Mata wrapped up the win from inside the area with seven minutes left.
And Derby manager Clement believed their Premier League opponents’ star players separated the two teams.
“You’re always worried about those quality players, like Mata and [Anthony] Martial, off the back of our midfield,” he told the BBC.
“They were clinical, their movement and finishing was the difference.
“I thought we gave them a good game, it wasn’t an easy game for them. We had some good passing spells and our goal was an excellent goal, a good finish from our holding midfielder – although I don’t know what he was doing up there!
“I’m disappointed we didn’t keep it tighter for a bit longer so we could go into the last 15, 20 minutes with a chance. For a team who is lacking confidence they played well tonight.”