Manchester United showed their character by comprehensively beating Real Betis 4-1 in the Europa League four days on from their humiliating defeat at Liverpool.
Sunday’s 7-0 collapse at their bitter rivals equalled the club’s record competitive defeat and left manager Erik ten Hag calling for a response from an unacceptable loss that he labelled “unprofessional”.
The United boss stuck with the same starting line-up that was annihilated at Anfield and the players repaid their manager’s faith in a 4-1 victory against Betis in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Marcus Rashford kept his cool to lash the hosts into an early lead as the snow fell at Old Trafford, only for Ayoze Perez to drill home a superb leveller against the run of play.
That moment gave hope to Manuel Pellegrini’s side and David De Gea was breathing a sigh of relief just before the break after his terrible pass led to a Perez effort deflecting off the post.
But United returned strongly from half-time and Antony curled home a lovely left-footed strike before skipper Bruno Fernandes, who faced intense scrutiny for his Liverpool display, headed home.
Wout Weghorst, another criticised after Anfield, scored his first Old Trafford goal to wrap up a comfortable win that means Ten Hag’s men head to Seville next Thursday with a three-goal cushion.
Arsenal’s Europa League hopes are finely poised after a topsy-turvy first leg of their last-16 clash with Sporting Lisbon ended in an entertaining draw.
The Gunners came from behind to draw 2-2 after Mikel Arteta made six changes to the side which secured a last-gasp victory over Bournemouth on Saturday to remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
A William Saliba header had Arsenal ahead but goals either side of half-time from Goncalo Inacio and Paulinho put Sporting in the driving seat.
A Hidemasa Morita own goal saw the visitors secure a draw to take back to the Emirates Stadium next week, where they will be hoping to advance to the quarter-finals.