Sir ALEX FERGUSON was as pleased with a third consecutive clean sheet for Manchester United as he was with the 2-0 victory over Otelul Galati which took his side top of Group C on a night of Champions League action.
After the 6-1 humiliation at home to nearest rivals Manchester City, the Red Devils have managed shut-outs against the Romanians, Aldershot, in the Carling Cup, and Everton in the Barclays Premier League.
“Winning was going to be important for us because of the position we were in after drawing our first two matches,” said the Scot, reflecting on back-to-back wins against Otelul which has put his side back in the driving seat. “I am pleased our work-rate was very good, we didn’t lose any goals and that is an important factor at the moment because there has been a lot of criticism of the team in terms of defending this season.”
The United boss picked Wayne Rooney as his man of the match at Old Trafford last night as the England international looked comfortable in an unfamiliar central midfield position.
It was Rooney’s long diagonal pass which began the move which led to Antonio Valencia’s eighth-minute goal and his heavily deflected shot from distance which sealed victory three minutes from time.
“He showed great awareness of that role,” he said. “His selection of passes at times was very good and showed great energy and determination – we got a really good performance out of him. We had injuries and that is one of the reasons we played him there.
On the other side of the Manchester divide, City manager Roberto Mancini believes his side can look forward to their vital Champions League clash against Napoli with confidence after sweeping Villarreal aside 3-0 in Spain last night.
City lifted themselves above the Italians into second place in Group A with a convincing win over their injury-ravaged hosts at El Madrigal. Their hopes of progression were already likely to hinge on their trip to Naples later this month but now they have a two-point advantage over the Italians, victory will make certain. “I think this win is important. We know that everything will be in Naples,” said Mancini.
Yaya Toure struck twice for City, either side of a Mario Balotelli penalty.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid made sure of qualification for the next stage with a 2-0 win in Lyon.