Relief for Ferguson as Sloppy United Get off to Winning Start; MAN UNITED 1 GALATASARAY 0

Article excerpt

Byline: Jack Gaughan

[bar] THERE is such a thing as trying too hard -- something Manchester United suffered from last night as they stumbled past Turkish champions Galatasaray. The eagerness to attempt to aggressively lay last season's Champions League demons to rest meant an uncomfortable evening.

United's final ball was hurried, with wide men Antonio Valencia and, in particular, Nani perhaps showing too much desire, some may say desperation, to settle this clash early. There was an ingredient missing, United weren't ticking.

That crucial component to continental success is, of course, Wayne Rooney. There was talk in the build-up to last night's match that the attacker had recovered sufficiently from a thigh injury sustained against Fulham last month but he didn't make it.

Sir Alex Ferguson said after the 1-0 win, thanks to an early Michael Carrick goal, that he "didn't know where the story came from" and that Sunday's game at Liverpool would come too soon for Rooney's comeback.

Rooney was missed at Old Trafford last night. Not so much his finishing, although his side did waste a host of opportunities, not least Nani's secondhalf penalty, but his precision around the box.

The nous of when exactly to force the issue is so often what decides these big European games. Rooney has that and the guile not to incessantly play percentage balls in the hope Robin van Persie might latch onto a pass. So, too, does Shinji Kagawa, who gave another intelligent display.

Ferguson, who became the first manager ever to win 100 times in the competition, was pleased with the end result but not with the process behind it. …


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