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Moyes delighted with Rooney form

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24 Oct 2013 08:01:52

Moyes delighted with Rooney form

Wayne Rooney celebrates his 28th birthday on Thursday with Manchester United manager David Moyes claiming the striker is a new man.

Rooney did not score the only goal as United recorded a narrow Champions League win over Real Sociedad at Old Trafford.

He certainly deserved to. For it was Rooney's mazy run past three defenders in the second minute that put Sociedad on the back foot.

And it was his shot that cannoned off the post, struck hapless defender Inigo Martinez on the edge of the six-yard box and bounced in.

It was part of another superb performance from Rooney, who made light of the negative comments made in his autobiography by Sir Alex Ferguson, and left Moyes purring.

"Is he 28 tomorrow?" said the Scot. "I thought he was a lot older than that.

"I was going to say he was back to the old Wayne Rooney but it might be better to say he is the new Wayne Rooney.

"He came back in great condition, trained really hard.

"I really couldn't explain how hard he has worked. He has been incredible.

"Hopefully, in the end, Manchester United will benefit and England might as well."

Rooney could afford himself a smile of satisfaction, especially as Ferguson was watching from the Old Trafford stands.

"I haven't seen him since he retired," said Rooney.

"I'm happy under the new manager. The new coach that has come in (has given me) a new lease of life.

"I'm really enjoying working under David Moyes."

Asked if he would respond to Ferguson's comments, Rooney said: "No, I'm happy playing football. That's the past, I'm looking to the future."

The result consolidated United's position at the top of Group A, and in the position of knowing if they defeat Shakhtar Donetsk in their final home game on matchday six, they will go through no matter what happens in their other two fixtures.

It turned into a nervy evening though.

Just as against Southampton on Saturday, United wasted a host of chances.

Rooney was culpable on three occasions, Antonio Valencia hit a post and Shinji Kagawa failed to snap up two decent chances.

It left United vulnerable. Unlike the weekend, this time they got away with it as Antoine Griezmann and Alberto de la Bella both hit the woodwork.

"I still had the feeling of Saturday left inside me and while it was 1-0, you know you can always lose a goal at a corner or free-kick," said Moyes.

"We do need to get more ruthless.

"It is OK saying we are unlucky but the job is to score and get them in the net.

"It's not just falling to one person. We all have to take responsibility. We have got to score more.

"It will make my job more easier and for the players as well.

"We would be able to relax and play without that same anxiety."

Moyes had words of praise for Kagawa, who was making a rare start and, briefly, filled the number 10 role so many feel he is suited to.

"Everyone tells me about Shinji's ability and what he's got, but tonight was the first time I have really seen him," said Moyes.

"I thought he played really well. When we put him in the No. 10 role, I thought he was very good."

Moyes also confirmed Robin van Persie could be fit for Saturday's Premier League encounter with Stoke after sitting out Wednesday evening's game with a combination of niggling problems.

"I hope Robin will be fit for the weekend," said Moyes.

"He had a couple of niggling injuries even before he went on international duty and they have all just caught up on him a bit.

"I thought if I had a chance to give him a breather I would and fortunately for us it worked out fine."

Real Sociedad coach Jagoba Arrasate admitted his side are now realistically aiming for third spot after losing all of their opening three games.

"It makes life difficult when you go 1-0 down so early on," he said.

"When it is a terrible mistake like that, a really disastrous goal to concede, it affects you.

"We tried very hard to get an equalising goal but you have to say it was a fair result."


PA

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