An injury-depleted United arrived in Germany on the back of stuttering start to the season and facing a team that a lost just once in the last 12 games in all competitions, but the Reds produced a superb performance, putting the host to the sword from the start and ran riot throughout the games, scoring five goals and securing a spot in the knockout stage of the Champions League.
A point at home against Shakthar Donetsk in the remaining group game will ensure United qualify as group winners and David Moyes is determined to ensure last night wasn’t a one-off occasion.
“It was one of my best days as Manchester United manager but the best days are still to come,” said the United manager.
“There will be better days to come. We won well, we played well, with some outstanding performances. To come to Germany and win 5-0, and they have a great record here in Leverkusen, puts it in perspective as well.”
The decision to start Ryan Giggs in midfield was borne out of necessity, but the Welshman produced a vintage performance, orchestrating the game spectacularly and earning his manager’s praise. “People mention his age but all you should mention is his football ability,” continued Moyes.
“He is an unbelievable footballer. You could say he is getting better. His vision, his pass for Nani’s goal: you wouldn’t have said he needed to come off. He is a wonderful player and I am really fortunate to be working with him.”
“Ryan will tell us when he has had enough or when he thinks his time is up. He keeps training day in, day out, keeps playing and I think his performances since I came here have been excellent. He’s been great,” said Moyes when asked how long Giggsy, who turns 40 tomorrow, can go on playing.
Giggs himself is convinced that despite recording their biggest away win in the European Cup for 56 years, United could have scored a couple of more goals, such was the threat they carried when counterattacking.
“I think our speed [was the difference],” said the United number 11. “The first goal was a good example: quick play. It was a pleasure to play behind our front four.”
“We could have scored more but we can’t be too greedy. To score five anywhere in Europe is a great result. Going into a game knowing a win puts us through is a carrot and the five goals and a clean sheet is a bonus. It was a pleasure.”
An injury to Robin Van Persie meant Moyes was forced to deploy Wayne Rooney as main striker, which allowed the United manager to play Shinji Kagawa in the number 10 position, where he thrived, creating chances and displaying an excellent understanding with Rooney, which pleased Moyes.
“I said at the start of the season that sometimes Wayne might have to play up front and Shinji in behind when Robin [van Persie] is injured. I thought Shinji played really well tonight, he was excellent, but he has been excellent when he’s played off the left as well. We have some really good players.
“Wayne does not need a rest just now but I will be watching for any signs that he does, which is why we need people in form and fit. I will keep him as fresh as I can but he is one of these players who is probably better playing. I don’t want to find myself losing him for five or six games somewhere in the season.”
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Tags: Manchester United News