Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dismissed suggestions Edinson Cavani might have been sent off before his game-breaking turn in Manchester United's 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final win over Everton.
Cavani fired in a fabulous 88th-minute strike from outside the penalty area before Anthony Martial made sure of a repeat of last season's semi-final against holders Manchester City.
Earlier in the second half, Cavani appeared to shove Everton defender Yerry Mina to the floor after grabbing at his throat, but referee Andy Madley opted not to dish out any punishment with VAR not in operation.
Solskjaer told Sky Sports he felt Uruguayan and Colombian rivalries were in play at that point in a keenly fought contest.
"It’s two South Americans that have had a few battles before," he said.
"Not long ago they met [in World Cup qualifying].
"This was a proper game of football, with fans, some tackles, cards, chances at both ends – I enjoyed it.
"[Cavani] is a top striker – movement, quality and the left-foot strike was excellent."
A 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium was not enough to avert a 3-2 aggregate loss in last season's semi-final and defeats at the same stage of the FA Cup and Europa League to Chelsea and Sevilla respectively meant 2019-20 was a tale of what might have been for Solskjaer and his players.
"It’s a worse game to lose, a semi-final, because when you get to a final you get that feeling, the build-up. So we’re going to do everything we can to get to the semi-final in a good state," he added, with City set to make the short trip to Old Trafford on the week of January 4 for what will be a one-off game this time around,
Shortly after the Cavani-Mina incident, Richarlison suffered a nasty blow to the head in an aerial challenge with Bruno Fernandes and Eric Bailly.
The Everton forward was substituted and manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed he had followed the advice of medical staff amid concerns over concussion.
"Richarlison is fine, fortunately," he told Sky Sports.
"He had a bad knock to the head, but we will see in the next few days [how he recovers].
"Of course the doctor [made the decision]. Now he is okay."