"The way they have been brought up, the way they have been bred with the manager previously, they react, and that's what we'll do here."
David Moyes' reaction to last week's painful derby defeat by Manchester City clearly resonated with his players as they regained a sense of stability at Old Trafford last night.
Javier Hernandez scored the only goal in an absorbing Capital One Cup tie with Liverpool, the Mexican escaping the attention of Jose Enrique to side foot Wayne Rooney's corner past goalkeeper Simon Mignolet for his first goal of the season.
The goal came so early in the second half that Moyes had barely walked beyond the penalty area as he made his way to the home dug-out with the Old Trafford faithful lapping up the Scot's celebrations.
While the strike undoubtedly settled nerves and quelled some of the angst that had built up following the hammering at the home of their city neighbours four days ago, United's performance was not perfect. Indeed, on his return following a 10-match suspension, Luis Suarez came close to levelling when his vicious free-kick struck the bar with David De Gea beaten.
De Gea had only just repelled Victor Moses' powerful diving header. But the hosts had chances to seal matters too, with Mignolet producing a couple of excellent saves to deny Rooney.
Suarez, desperately in need of match fitness, was clearly not on top form, the Uruguayan caught on his heels with Steven Gerrard rolled an inviting pass into his path, which allowed Rafael to slide back and clear. And when Enrique's curling cross dropped over Jonny Evans' head, Suarez's first touch was just too long so De Gea was able to slide out to bravely block his second.
It was all part of an absorbing opening period, notable for the fact neither goalkeeper actually had a shot to save. But United were in determined mood. Nani and Shinji Kagawa were particularly lively, while stand-in captain Rooney buzzed around with menace.
Half-time arrived, however, with the deadlock still unbroken. The relief around Old Trafford was palpable, then, when Hernandez stuck out his right peg a minute after the re-start.
Liverpool responded to the setback with impressive vigour. Indeed, they should have been level when United's defence got themselves in a muddle attempting to subdue a joint raid involving Suarez and Daniel Sturridge and succeeded only in presenting Jordan Henderson with a shooting chance.
The England man had enough time to do better than merely drag a disappointing shot wide. And he knew it. Excellent approach play involving Hernandez and Kagawa deserved a better ending than Nani's poor finish too as the second-period delivered the goalmouth action that had been lacking beforehand.
Kagawa, proving why so many United fans were baffled at his lack of action so far this term, watched his dipping effort flick off the bar before play switched to the other end, where Enrique fired wide.
In the end, though, United held Liverpool at bay and will now face Norwich City in the fourth round. After the stumble, Moyes and his men march on . . .