FOR someone who reckons the League Cup should be scrapped for the good of the English game, Jose Mourinho puts a hell of a lot of effort into winning the damned thing.
Football’s great trophy-hunter has already won this competition in its various guises four times.
And you wouldn’t bet against him making it a famous five this season after steering his Manchester United team safely through to the quarter-finals.
Jesse Lingard’s two goals either side of the interval were enough to get United back on track after their recent struggles.
And there was no need for the petulant Portuguese to lay into his team again following his weekend rant.
With Spurs, Benfica and Chelsea next up on the United itinerary, it was important for Mourinho’s men to get their mojo back ASAP.
Saturday’s shock defeat at Huddersfield had followed hard on the heels of the instantly forgettable draw at Liverpool and an edgy single-goal win in Lisbon.
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And while this was hardly the return to the free-scoring team who had thrilled the United faithful in the first two months of the season, at least it was a step in the right direction.
Mourinho made seven changes to the team he had accused of showing a poor attitude at the John Smith’s Stadium at the weekend.
Unfortunately for United’s travelling supporters, Victor Lindelof was not one of them.
The nervous Swedish international is an accident waiting to happen every time the ball comes near to him and you can only hope that Mourinho has kept the £30million receipt from Benfica.
If Lindelof was hoping to get straight back on the horse after his Hudderfield horror show, he was in for another disappointment.
Virtually the first time he was called into action his hopelessly miscued clearance presented Jordan Ayew with a run on goal which fortunately came to nothing.
And when Wayne Routeldge wandered yards beyond the United defence, the hapless Lindelof played him onside with another wayward touch which even caught the Swansea forward by surprise.
Fortunately for Mourinho, there was little sign of the rest of his team coming up short again.
They almost took the lead in the second minute when Chris Smalling headed narrowly from Marcus Rashford’s corner.
And when the breakthrough goal finally arrived midway through the first-half, it was well worth the wait.
Ander Herrera’s forward pass didn’t appear to pose much of a threat to Swansea until their entire defence was totally bamboozled by Rashford’s sublime first-time flick to Jesse Lingard.
There was still plenty of work for Lingard to do but he held his composure impressively to beat Kris Nordfeldt with a precise low shot into the corner of the net.
Scott McTominay could have put the tie out of Swansea’s reach before half-time but thumped his shot over from the edge of the area.
But it wasn’t all plain sailing for United and there was a heart-stopping moment for Daley Blind when his powerful clearing header struck Oli McBurnie and flew centimetres wide of Sergio Romero’s post.
United’s Argentine keeper was left scrambling again just before the interval when Sam Clucas narrowly failed to hit the target with a low strike from the edge of the area.
Time was not so long ago that the fervent Swansea supporters would have turned this tie into a real test of character for Mourinho’s shadow squad.
But there is a worrying lack of passion at the Liberty Stadium these days as the locals prepare themselves for another long, hard slog for Premier League survival.
Like Mourinho, Swansea boss Paul Clement made multiple changes to the team beaten by Leicester at the weekend, but without the same effect.
Their first shot on target did not arrive until the 74th minute, by which time their Wembley ambitions were already over after Lingard’s second goal of the evening.
Axel Tuanzebe’s cross-field pass allowed Matteo Darmian to pick out Lingard’s run with a pinpoint cross and the England midfielder did the rest with a beautiful 59th minute header into the far corner.
It was the first time Lingard has scored twice in one game for United and his third in the Carabao Cup this season.
Like Mourinho, there is clearly something about this competition which agrees with him.
Tuanzebe could have made it even more comfortable for United but fired over after Nordfeldt had failed to hold on to McTominay’s header.
But the tie was already as good as over by then. Like it or not, Mourinho is clinging on to the League Cup and isn’t planning to let it out of his grasp any time soon.