Ferguson: Midfielder Rooney was best
Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson has praised Wayne Rooney for his midfield performance in his side’s 2-0 win over Otelul Galati.
While English Premier League champions United failed to fully convince in the Champions League Group C encounter, Rooney was a shining light against the plucky Romanian outfit.
Antonio Valencia grabbed the first goal just eight minutes into the tie and it took until the dying stages to see another, as Rooney’s shot from 30 yards was heavily deflected and wrong-footed goalkeeper Branko Grahovac.
Ferguson applauded the England international’s contribution to the win, but was unsure whether the position in the middle of the park was going to be made a common one for the former Everton striker to fill.
Asked if his performance was the best on the night, Ferguson told Sky Sports: “Yes, I thought so.”
“I thought he was fantastic in the centre of midfield, I really do. He was aware of the people around him, his choice of passing was very, very good so he did really well for us tonight.”
“It’s difficult to say if he will play there against sterner competition. What our opponents did tonight was defend well against us and try to stop us in terms of attacking. So, it’s difficult to say, but I’d be confident to put him there again.”
“We are just trying to organise our midfield around all these injuries in that department, Michael Carrick’s still injured, Tom Cleverley is still injured and with Darren Fletcher we are spacing his games out.”
Rooney’s statistics told the story of how impressive he was, finishing having covered the second-highest amount of distance covered, highest pass completion percentage and most passes.
Three points from the game takes United a step closer to qualification to the knockout stages of the competition, and Ferguson’s men can seal top spot in the group with a win against Benfica at Old Trafford on November 22.
Michael Owen got a rare start on Wednesday, but was forced to be substituted after just 11 minutes of play after pulling his thigh during United’s opening goal.
Ferguson said: “He’s done a thigh muscle. In actual fact, he made the goal for us, he made a fantastic run to the front post from Phil Jones’ cross and took all the defenders with him and we were left with a simple knock in for Antonio Valencia.”
“The injury is a tragedy for the lad because he is a really good player.”
Otelul manager Dorinel Munteanu cut a folorn figure after the match, with his side putting in a brave performance but ultimately finishing with nothing.
“I’m disappointed with the result and how the game went. I was hoping
for more,” he said.
“But I am proud of my players for playing with courage. They
even controlled the game at times.”
“We conceded easy. We made small
mistakes and we were punished by United scoring simple goals. We played
very well in the second half. So, despite losing, I have a positive
feeling about the match.”