Securing a first win at Old Trafford since 2007 was an impressive response to the visitors’ heartbreak on Sunday, when Jesse Lingard’s late goal in the Premier League clash was enough to take all three points after Mark Noble had missed a penalty with his first kick in the 93rd minute.
Manuel Lanzini’s ninth-minute goal here last night, created by a fine run from Ryan Fredericks, capped a flying start from David Moyes’s side and was enough to secure a home tie against cup holders Manchester City in the last 16.
West Ham came under a lot of pressure across the next 81 minutes but the back four and Areola, who made a string of fine saves on his debut after joining from Paris Saint-Germain, stood firm.
Having gone head-to-head with United twice in four days, the French keeper says the Hammers have shown they can mix it with the biggest clubs.
“We are at a level to really compete against that kind of team,” Areola told Standard Sport.
“We have the quality and a good group, good atmosphere and in our minds we have the same objective — to win and go as far as possible in every competition. We are trying to give everything every day during the week to perform.
“I was happy to start and to help the team win but all the team did a great job and we kept our goal with a clean sheet.”
Following the disappointment on Sunday, West Ham made 10 changes but wanted to prove a point.
“We tried to keep our heads up and work for last night,” said Areola. “That is what we did and we deserved that win so we keep going. We can go far in every competition.”
There will be no shying away from the challenge of Pep Guardiola’s City up next at the London Stadium. When told of the draw, Areola added: “If you want to win something you have to beat every team. We are competitors and we want to win and against big teams.”
The victory ended a run of three domestic games without a win for Moyes’s side, while it was also the Scot’s first victory over Manchester United since he was sacked as manager at Old Trafford in 2014.
It will only add to the belief that West Ham can improve on last season’s record Premier League points tally and sixth-placed finish, even considering their commitments in Europe.
Despite heavy rotation with Michail Antonio, Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek all rested, the Hammers were competitive across the park as summer signing Alex Kral impressed on his first appearance since joining from Spartak Moscow.
Czech star Kral partnered Noble in midfield, with the 34-year-old responding defiantly to Sunday’s spot-kick miss. Despite a few late challenges and a booking, Noble was a composed presence and managed the game well, though Solskjaer claimed the Hammers star had fouled Lingard for a penalty which was not given. Noble, however, was quick to see the funny side.
“Nah that’s football,” said Noble.
“He dived and I told him off for screaming for it [the penalty]. Funnily enough he didn’t do that when he was at our place.”
Another stern test at Leeds United awaits the Hammers on Sunday but it is clear from two engaging games against United that Moyes continues to take this West Ham side to new heights.