Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera was delighted to walk away from Sixfields having helped his team claim a 3-1 victory against battling Cobblers in the EFL Cup third round.
The Spaniard scored the second goal for the Old Trafford giants, rifling in a sumptuous 20-yard drive, and it was a crucial strike as Town were beginning to frustrate Jose Mourinho’s men with the match moving into the final 20 minutes.
Michael Carrick had scored a classy opener on 17 minutes before the Cobblers, who had spent the majority of the opening 40 minutes chasing shadows, drew level four minutes before the break.
That equaliser came via an Alex Revell penalty after Sam Hoskins having been tripped in the box by United goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Town had started the second half well, and were testing their illustrious visitors to the extent that a ruffled Mourinho was forced to introduce star strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford into the fray to try to force a victory.
Their introduction paid immediate dividends as both were involved in the build up to Herrera’s goal, Rashford teeing him up to thump home.
Just seven minutes later a gift from Town goalkeeper Adam Smith, who had also made a mistake for the opener, allowed Rashford to make it 3-1 and that was as good as game over.
Herrera though, was pleased to get through what he felt was a tricky tie.
“I think the performance was good, but we can play better,” said Herrera.
“It was a good win, because when you play these kind of games, people don’t realise how difficult it is.
“For them (Northampton) it is the game of their life.
“Now we need to keep winning games, it has been a bad week, but after this win we can face Leicester in a more positive way this weekend.”
Herrera was part of a classy United midfield trio that also included Morgan Schneiderlin and Carrick, and he felt they did well to move the ball and not allow the Cobblers players to get on top of them.
“We had control, and when you have control, you control the ball and the game,” he said.
“We tried to play the ball as quickly as possible with one or two touches, and I think the team needed that because Northampton were going to press a lot.
“That meant we weren’t going to be able to drive too much with the ball, but it is a great victory for us.
“We now face Manchester City in the next round, so that is good for everyone.”
Herrera was a threat all night and always looked to get a shot off if possible.
He rattled the base of Smith’s left hand post a few minutes before he did find the target, and said: “I try to shoot when I can help the team, and I could have scored another goal before I did when I hit the post.
“But I am very happy because when you score you help the team more, and I know my role and what I can give to the team.
“But as a midfielder, you are happier when you can score goals.”