to admire that part of their game. Given some of the football we played and the chances that we missed, we should have really been home safely.
“It was a fantastic piece of play for our first goal and we played a lot of good football. We maybe should have been ahead at half-time but as I say, we have to defend better than that. They are good at what they do and you have to give them real credit because they are a handful.
“When Ryan Giggs headed over the bar, Danny Welbeck hit another over, Tom Cleverley hit one more over and then Shinji Kagawa had one blocked near the line, I thought it wasn’t going to be our day.
“But you have to praise the pass from Ryan and the first touch of the ball from Robin. The finish was absolutely world class. You are hoping he is going to score given his ability to do that. There were only a few minutes left so it was a great goal for us.”
Although the replay with West Ham is yet to be arranged, it is likely to be played during the week before Saturday 26 January, when the fourth round matches are scheduled, meaning United will have to contend with a busier than expected New Year.
However, with a host of players returning to first team training, including midfielders Anderson and Nani, and a full complement of defenders at his disposal, Sir Alex feels his squad is strong enough to cope with the physiological demands of fixture congestion.