Michael Carrick hails Marcus Rashford impact as Man Utd rack up six league wins in a row
Michael Carrick believes Manchester United's recent run of form fuelled his team-mates to secure their sixth consecutive Premier League win at West Ham.
Second-half goals from Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw Jose Mourinho's side stretch their unbeaten run to 13 games in all competitions but the game was overshadowed by referee Mike Dean's controversial decision to send Hammers midfielder Sofiane Feghouli off after 15 minutes.
The Hammers will appeal the decision, with Dean coming under heavy criticism from some observers.
Up until the red card, the hosts had started the game brightly and the dismissal created a hotly-tempered atmosphere as every decision came under scrutiny from the home crowd, and Carrick was pleased with how the players dealt with conditions to claim victory.
Carrick told MUTV: "In the first-half we weren't where we wanted to be in terms of keeping possession and creating chances.
"We just looked less sharp after only playing on Saturday, but credit should also go to them as they only played on Saturday as well and had to play with 10 men.
"But we are delighted that we saw the game out. We have kept our run going and confidence is high, which makes such a massive difference in games like this because we feel as if we can see that finishing line and it ultimately drove us over the line to give us the three points."
The introductions of substitutes Mata and Marcus Rashford swung the game in United's favour as the latter played a key role in setting up the Spaniard's opener.
The 19-year-old has been a bit-part player under Mourinho following his break-out season which saw the forward earn his first England call-up last year.
But Carrick was full of admiration for the teenager, who claimed all the plaudits with his performance at the London Stadium.
"Pace makes a big difference," Carrick said. "There was space out there and he came on to exploit it. You could sense he was going to create something as he nearly got inside a couple of times before he set up the goal.
"He did really well to lay off Juan, he took his chance and so did Ibra so we can go home happy."
West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph insists the performances displayed over the festive period proved his side can bounce back from their defeats against Leicester and United.
The narrow losses ended a run of three successive Premier League wins and Randolph feels that his team-mates will take pride in their resilience.
"We had enough chances to get on the scoresheet and try and get something out of the game but it's always tough when you go down to 10 men in any game. Especially against them," the 29-year-old told the club's official website.
"From where I was, the sending off just looked like two bodies jumping into the tackle. I just thought the ref stopped the game because Phil Jones was injured. Then he showed the red card.
"We battled on for most of the game with 10 men, still creating chances, so we take confidence from that."