What a difference a week makes.
There is a part of me that thinks that perhaps it would be wrong to get too carried away. Let’s not forget that the Moyes era began with a classy 1-4 win at Swansea, but there was something different yesterday. You could sense the nerves through the players early on as the habit of useless possession continued to plague the side. But, once Rooney buried his penalty, there was almost a swagger to it all.
There was a sense of belonging when Ryan Giggs stepped out pitch-side in his suit, turned to face the Stretford End and then, without so much as a second thought, strode confidently to the dugout. He never appeared to be flustered or short of ideas.
In all likelihood, he won’t get the job permanently this time around, but he is laying the foundation already to be considered a Manchester United boss in the not so distant future. It’s almost a dress rehearsal, if you like.
He certainly didn’t fluff his lines.
There would have been plenty of raised eyebrows when the team sheet was released and didn’t include Juan Mata, but had a place for Tom Cleverley. As well as the odd street party celebrating that Marouane Fellaini didn’t manage to make the eighteen. But the decision to drop Mata, although risky, proved justified and certainly seemed to invigorate the player as he came on to score two.
It’s not a difficult solution to get the best out of the Spaniard. As Giggs himself quite clearly said before the game, he is a number ten, he needs to play behind the striker. That’s what happened when he came on and we arguably saw his best thirty minutes as a United player.
Overall, the performance was more like the United of old: completely in control, but also with the ability to take it up two or three extra gears whenever required. It’s not going to eradicate what has been a disastrous season, but there is a certain air of the silver lining about it all.
Now I turn to you, the reader and fellow United fan.
Let’s all make a pact shall we? It’s time for us to all, once again, hold our heads high and take pride in our club. I say that because I know some fans are utterly distraught with what has gone on this season on the pitch, and, equally, there are plenty who are dismayed by what’s happened off the field too. It hasn’t affected our support, just perhaps our belief.
But yesterday must be seen as the beginning of a whole new chapter. It’s not about forgetting what has happened in these last ten months, because the pain and heartache that that brought will make our next championship even sweeter. But it most definitely is about looking forward to sunnier horizons.
I’m sure there will be plenty of rhetoric banding about that it ‘was only Norwich’ and ‘let’s not get carried away’, but let’s remember that this is the same Norwich side that Liverpool were so roundly applauded for beating last week. I’m not saying we deserve any extra merit for yesterday’s performance, but we certainly deserve our fair share.
It’s time to start enjoying watching United again, even if we’ve only got three more games to savour this campaign.