Rooney inspires Man United to nervy Old Trafford victory
The striker looks happy with new regime, even if the rest of the team is still struggling
Manchester United 1 Real Sociedad 0. David Moyes was a relieved man last night as his Man United team narrowly avoided another Old Trafford embarrassment in the Champions League, and squeaked home against Real Sociedad thanks to a second minute own goal.
"The scoreline may not have been as convincing as David Moyes would have liked but this was a much brighter Manchester United performance and a valuable three points," wrote Paul Wilson. "Wayne Rooney was lively and involved in almost everything, Shinji Kagawa slotted in with typical neatness, even if he was indecisive in front of goal, and at times United went forward with something like the verve of old."
However, United's inability to add to Inigo Martinez's early own goal meant a repeat of last weekend's events against Southampton, when the visitors stunned Old Trafford with a last-minute equaliser, was always a risk.
"Better quality opposition will make more of their chances against sides who cannot score enough goals," continued the Guardian. "Real Sociedad certainly had opportunities here and for the second match in a row Moyes was concerned at his team's inability to hold the ball in midfield and to put a game to bed."
The Daily Telegraph was more charitable, reserving special mention for Rooney who "performed superbly, constantly driving David Moyes' side forward... United's number ten stormed into this game, hitting the post after two minutes and constantly bemusing Sociedad's defence".
The Times agreed: "Rooney illustrated again last night, watched by his former manager, that he is reaping the benefits of a change of regime, even if others are finding the adaptation more difficult."
The report concludes: "Nobody would call this a vintage United performance, but then again, the same was said often enough in the final year or two of Sir Alex Ferguson's tenure."
Local rivals Manchester City also put in a nervy performance in their Champions League game against CSKA Moscow. They came from behind but another two goals from Sergio Aguero saw them through. That's six goals in seven games for the Argentine.
City's defence looked shaky all night but Joe Hart was back on form and a tremendous save in the dying seconds saw him swamped by team mates after the final whistle blew.
The game was played in freezing conditions on a painted pitch to make it playable. The Sun quipped: "Before flying home, City must have felt like repainting Red Square in Blue as it looks like they have finally cracked the Champions League group stage." ·