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Rooney rides to Man Utd rescue

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Phil McNulty | 21:39 UK time, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Sir Alex Ferguson described the closing stages of Manchester United's first win at the San Siro as "a carnival". It is unlikely his words will have been as benevolent behind closed doors.

It is churlish to downgrade the scale of United's achievement in beating AC Milan in their own formidable surroundings - but surprisingly a landmark result that helped Ferguson create another piece of history cannot be greeted with complete satisfaction.

Wayne Rooney showcased his world-class talent to put United in sight of the last eight of the Champions League, but the discomfort caused by a fading and unremarkable Milan side was an obvious cause for concern.

Ferguson's pleasure will be tempered by the defensive flaws and carelessness in possession that moved him to bound to the touchline in the first half and produce his infamous "hairdryer" in public, with Jonny Evans the unfortunate victim.

rooney_blog_getty.jpg Man Utd are in pole position to reach the next round thanks to Rooney. Photograph: Getty

Milan let United escape by missing a succession of opportunities - and Ferguson will be grimly aware other opponents may not be so generous should they progress.

United needed a major piece of good fortune to get back on an even keel after Ronaldinho's deflected early goal, with Paul Scholes levelling courtesy of his standing foot after a swing and a miss at Darren Fletcher's cross.

The great consolation and comfort for United is that even if they are struggling at the back they have Rooney at the front. And once again he produced when it mattered.

He combined power and intelligent movement to terrorise the Milan defence after the break and score with two headers - a perceived former weakness in his game that has now been spectacularly addressed.

It was symptomatic of United's two-faced display in victory that even with Milan at their mercy at 3-1, they engineered a way of handing them a lifeline with Clarence Seedorf's late goal, which was then followed by bad misses from Pippo Inzaghi and Thiago Silva.

Milan were left to count the cost of their profligacy, allowing United's younger legs to take over as the Italians ran out of steam.

Michael Carrick's sending off added to the mixed emotions experienced by United. Any criticism must be placed in the context of their eventual victory, but this was a strange old evening.

Rooney was the one constant, completely overshadowing David Beckham on the night when he hoped to illustrate he can still be a force on the biggest stage. Fabio Capello was in attendance, but he will have learned nothing new about Beckham on this evidence.

Beckham's poor free-kick indirectly led to Ronaldinho's first goal, but he was literally on the margins of the game and it was no surprise when he was substituted. Will he be a serious contributor as a member of England's World Cup squad? Sorry, but I still have my doubts.

One Italian newspaper likened Beckham to a waxwork model after defeat to Inter in the Milan derby. This is both harsh and disrespectful, but there is no doubt his lack of pace and mobility might be preying on Capello's mind as he shapes his squad for South Africa.

ronny_blog_ap.jpg Ronaldinho provided AC Milan's greatest threat. Photograph: AP

No such worries about Rooney, other than the fears presumably shared by Ferguson and Capello that he may pick up an injury. This was more confirmation that he is now close to being the complete attacking footballer.

United found heroes elsewhere in goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who produced sound work when required and Darren Fletcher, who is almost the identikit modern midfielder and set up two goals.

Nani continues to puzzle and his wastefulness in good positions was placed into sharp relief when Antonio Valencia's first contribution as his replacement was to provide the perfect cross for Rooney's opening goal.

United are in prime position to progress, but the realist in Ferguson will tell him that they enjoyed good fortune in the San Siro, a commodity that has not been in huge supply on their previous visits.

And to beat AC Milan in Italy when not at your best shows the in-built reserves of resilience United can call on in times of trouble. It is a wonderful quality to have - and history tells us United have got it in abundance.

It got them through on Wednesday and makes them huge favourites to move into the quarter-finals. Ferguson will hope, however, that United do not produce another "carnival" of this kind or they might just pay a heavy price.

You can follow me throughout this season at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    I thought Darren Fletcher, who set-up two goals, and defended brillianty was the real Man Utd here, though.

    Good article though, Phil.

  • Comment number 2.

    Who cares profanity filter

  • Comment number 3.

    Great win for Utd and a cracking game to watch....ah its 12am, will continue in the morning when I get to work.

  • Comment number 4.

    I felt tonight that Darren Fletcher really showed what he is capable of on the European stage, perhaps even more so than Rooney who occasionally looked as if he was trying to do it all himself before Valencia came on, a trait which I think sometimes lets him and his team down.

    But a good game to watch, and should make the second leg very interesting.

  • Comment number 5.

    United are still formidable without ronaldo, I am looking forward to the season finalé.

  • Comment number 6.

    Its unbelievable how good fletcher has become.
    3/4 years ago i didnt think id be saying that he is our best midfielder, defensively and attack wise and he's getting better and better.
    Rooney tells his own story. Just Unplayable at the minute.
    How does Van der sar keep saving us time and time again at 39 years of age. Just incredible.

  • Comment number 7.

    Phil you've had a shocker. You've written this blog far too soon after the game and have not taken any time to consider the finer details of the match. You consider Man Utd to have been lucky when they were by far the better side over the 90 minutes all be it with some glaring defensive errors. Your comments about Beckham are once again extremely biased as someone who clearly doesn't believe in his merits to the England squad. Fabio Capello's opinions will be unchanged however after what was a solid performance.

  • Comment number 8.

    Awesome display. Wayne Rooney once again showed why he's the best player in the World right now. United are surely through now.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think that Park deserves some credit because he has played really well when he is up front. Both excellent in offence and defence. Flether has become a real european great!

  • Comment number 10.

    I am so sick and tired of the hysteria of man united fans. You can't see the wood for the trees. The result tonight merely papered over the major cracks waiting to be exposed by a better team than Milan in the next round. (Don't forget this is a Milan team with an average age of 30+ who were tanked by a nine man inter milan side a few weeks ago.)

    Lets be honest here, Milan well and truly deserved the win tonight, and its not a result of Man United's ability that that outcome wasn't the result, rather Milan's ineptitude in front of goal. Any other team in the tournament that had a striker/finisher worth his salt would have had man u dead and buried in the first half. In fact forget that, Geoff Horsefield would even have put away those chances. It was men against boys. (Albeit old men as the fatigue in the second half for Milan showed).

    The only saving grace for this united side is Rooney. He is carrying the side single handed. I almost feel sorry for the burden he's under carrying that Europa League (at best) midfield. Darren Fletcher, contrary to the prevailing opinion in the first few posts, is not a European class central midfielder. The importance of Darren Fletcher to Uniteds midfield is more of a damning indictment of how far the abililty of Man United's midfield has fallen in recent years than his individual improvement. Mark my words, there is not one major european club out there wishing they had Darren Fletcher as a central midfielder in their team.

    All in all, Man U got out of jail tonight. Forget aspirations of winning the tournament and look at things objectively for once. The defence is porous, (Rio Ferdinand as England captain and centre back for the world cup?? Don't be warming your trophy lifting arm up Rio), the midfield has is out of its depth and the goal keeper is an accident waiting to happen.

    Rant over!


  • Comment number 11.

    Strange post Phil (again).

    Why no mention of the major talking point of the game?

    Ferdinand fouled Ronaldinho and should have been sent off. If he had been sent off then Man U (who were all over the place at that point) would have been 1-0 down with ten men in the San Siro with 75 minutes to go. Milan would have gone into the 2nd leg with a probable lead and Man U who already have somewhat of defensive crisis would have been without a suspended Ferdinand. Milan would have been firm favourites to progress.

    It was a total howler from the referee, a massive mistake to make! If he had called an obvious decision correctly then Milan would be massive favourites to go through, he didn't so Man U are big favourites....huge error!

    Bang on about Rooney all you like (and yes I agree he was very good) but he would hardly of got a kick if Man U had gone down to ten men as Man U would hardly of had the ball. It wasn't Rooney that won Man U the game it was poor officiating.......not the first time thats happened if my mind serves me correctly.

    Strange you didn't mention anything about the massive wrong decision from the ref in your post but chose to heap more hype on Rooney instead but it is a world cup year so that sort of thing is to be expected I suppose.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm travelling and living at a ski resort in Canada this year and had to "rent out" my season ticket in the Stretford End until I get home in August. How devastating this decision turned out to be!! The cup games have been something that any United fan could only dream about in one season, Leeds, City and David Beckham. Now, in the business end of the season, the football that United and Rooney have been playing is just simply sublime. Being in Canada, I had to almost fight with the local pub owner to switch the Olympics over to the "soccer game" yet me, along with a couple of other die hard footy fans couldn't help but marvel at Rooney. Does it matter they were outclassed in the first half, isn't it the result that matters?

    As for Becks, I think a better comparison would be with Paul Scholes as opposed to Rooney. Both came through the ranks and both started last night - Scholes put in a master class, and humble as ever, will probably never get mentioned in this context again. I personally feel Becks should go to South Africa but he most certainly does not warrant the attention from last night that is being dished out.

    Yet, i'm not getting carried away. Like we were all saying after the Carling Cup semi final, 'it's only half time' and we have to be careful. To do a Garry Cook and claim 'when not if we get to the quarter finals' would just be plain idiocy - which I will keep reserved for that CEO himself.

    What about Real Madrids result? Do you think they will be knocked out again or considering their home record will be to strong for Lyon in the return? In light of the 'do they miss Ronaldo' debate....looking at last nights two games - I think we're doing just fine.

  • Comment number 13.

    @ NI_Football_Fan
    and
    @ arab87

    First let's deal with this Ferdinand red card malarky; he was not the last man and the foul was committed outside the box. Clear? Great.
    Now I don't know if either of you watch many United Premier League matches but you seem to be on a time delay if you do. United were poor at the start of the season, occasionally diabolical. However, the last couple months have been -how can i put this- sublime. Dismantling Arsenal was definitely a highlight and that was the best performance by a side in the Premier League thus far in the season. That match was largely about Rooney it is true but also about the fantastic midfield and its ability to smother and control. So I think you two are superimposing sub-par United of several months ago over the team of the last few weeks. I shouldn't have to point out this is stupid and erroneous but people like you make it necessary.
    United were poor in the first 30 minutes against Milan but then took over. Valencia was great and Fletcher, who you regard as poor simply because you confuse glamor with substance and ability, was again tireless. The defence was shoddy this is true but this is a deviation from the norm. Given the injuries and disruptions we've had, I think the deputies such as Evans, Brown and Rafael have performed admirably.
    So to win 3-2 in Milan against a revitalized Ronaldinho is not exactly a poor result is it? And to suggest that we should "forget aspirations of winning the tournament" is hilarious considering United have been in the final the last two years and are doing very well in the league. I don't know which clubs you support but I suspect your wish to have all United fans give up hope on Europe is because your teams have long ago lost any ability to compete in the Champions League. So if you don't mind we'll continue to be optimistic and supportive of our club even if it annoys you.

  • Comment number 14.


    For those who did not watch the game:

    Milan could have scored fifteen.

    And this is not an exaggerarion.



  • Comment number 15.

    10. At 00:39am on 17 Feb 2010, NI_Football_Fan wrote:
    I am so sick and tired of the hysteria of man united fans. You can't see the wood for the trees.

    OOOHHHH REEEAAALLY? I guess that you haven't seen the Lyon-Real madrid match result then, 1-0 to Lyon? Against a strikeforce which cost over 200 MILLION pounds? Suggested to be the favourites to win the whole thing, yet they can't overcome Lyon? Even if it is away with the likes of Benzema, Ronaldo, Kaka, then Madrid should be thrashing Lyon 5-0, the difference is that unlike Real Madrid, who tried to buy their way to winning, Manchester united can still muster up enough to overcome a side that probably should have won, THAT shows true class, not some fancy footwork by Ronaldo, and really, i'm pleased Ronaldo has gone, Rooney is in amazing form, people are being tested on the right for instance Nani, not always brilliant, but he could be very good. You say that no-one would want Fletcher, yet when people have Kaka, they can't win, yet with fletcher, you do, so tell me this, how are United a failing side?

  • Comment number 16.

    A well observed piece of writing here, Phil.

    In my opinion, it was definately a game of two halfs (i know, every game is!). The first Half, United, were out done, by a very attacking and precise Milan side, age for me does not matter, they really started well, and continued that through to half time, But again United, somehow get that break, that luck they need to get back into the game (i believe theyve had 10 Own Goals too this season - says it all) and i have never known a team to get so many pieces of good fortune, and im not exagerrating, am i?

    Second half, United did play alot better, but Milan still carved out the openings to win the game, ok United had a few too, but not as clear cut as Mians, The 2nd goal for Milan was pure brilliance from old head Seedorf, it was what Milan deserved, and i still feel, because of Uniteds somewhat dodgy defence that it is still there for Milan to win.

    On Fletcher, he is in centre midfielf what Dirk Kuyt is to the Right flank - A GRAFTER, i wouldnt call him world class, but he does what he has to do, consistent i guess.

    Problem i have is United fans (through red devil tinted glasses)seem to think any player in there shirt is better than reality, my mate (united fan) once said 'Anderson is better than Frank Lampard AND Steven Gerrard' which is why i have a thing about United fans and there EXTREME biasness and arrogance to concede when another team has been the better side or if a player they have is not as good as an obvious better player.

    On Rooney, probably the best attacking player in the world (i say attacking, not striker as he is more a complete player, rather than a better Striker than Drogba and Torres) his desire and passion is what makes me proud he is English, he never gives up a fight - brilliant.

    On the 'gripe i have with United fans' and my love for Rooney, ive notice United fans cannot accept (surprise) that they are becoming a one man team, and i say this apprehensively, how are they any different to Arsenal (Fabregas and Van Persie) and Liverpool (Gerrard and Torres), they are labelled '2 men teams', so surely, on evidence, united are a one man team, right? .... i wait for the barrage of replies!

    Fair plays to United for winning in Milan, but, personally, still so much more left in the game, if Milan get the sort of chances they did tonight, and are more clinical with it, then United could be in trouble.

    I look forward to it..

    oh and just incase you hadnt realised (hahaha) i am a LIVERPOOL fan :D and i will be sat in the Kop Thurs for the Europa League game - awesome.. i hate being jealous :(

    Good Night x

  • Comment number 17.

    Rooney is the heart and soul of the United team. He's very much the heir to Bryan Robson, Cantona and Roy Keane. Ronaldo, for all his brilliance, was never the heart and soul of United. Even when Ronaldo was winning games single-handed, any real United fan would have preferred to keep Rooney (given the hypothetical choice). He is the fans' representative on the pitch, and like Robson, Keane and Cantona he will never take the money on offer in Spain or Italy. We can only hope that he doesn't have the same bad luck with injuries which Robson had - for United and England's sake. If Robson had stayed fit, United would have won the league and England the World Cup in 1986.

  • Comment number 18.

    post 9:

    He did nothing the whole night. He was dreadful, didn't help he was playing in the middle but he was a hindrance. Never offered anything. Scholes was superb as was Ferdinand (his reading of the game is still exceptional) Rooney/Fletcher bit more obvious. How Evra/Ambrosini didn't get sent off but Carrick did was inexplicable. Rafael (inexperience) Nani (wasteful) and Park were the weak links. Evans was a bit hit and miss and Evra for once just had a poor game.

  • Comment number 19.

    I thought we were pretty poor really, and we were just lucky that Milan are so weak right now. It was a really strange match, I can't put my finger on it, but the tone of the evening just seemed a little off. Someone above commented on the refereeing and I have to agree it was pretty shocking. So many soft fouls, misses Ferdinand's foul on Ronaldinho, which I think he was scared to call, didn't give a yellow all night for kicking the ball away, then sends off Carrick late on, gives a foul which clearly wasn't a foul based on his assistant's flag, then blows the whistle as soon as the kick is taken in an obvious make-up...it goes on and on, and this kind of performance should not be tolerated, especially on the European stage.

  • Comment number 20.

    I thought Man Utd were sloppy & extremely lethargic in the first half. They were undoubtedly fortunate not to be a couple of goals behind early on. I also agree with an earlier post that Ferdinand was lucky not to be sent off but was perhaps saved by the way Ronaldinho stumbled as he fell.

    They were far better in the second half & dominated a lot of the possession. At 1-3 up they could well have added to their lead but at the very least they should have seen the game out. That they didn't highlighted how United can mix the good with the bad. The tie is still open as a result but I wouldn't expect anything other than a United victory in the return leg.

    This inconsistency has been there all season & will be worry going forward. If they're to win the big prizes they will have to cut out the mistakes. I do believe these errors are in part down to the unsettled team caused by the defensive crisis. So as the players come back this issue should be rectified. I would expect Man Utd to at least make the Semi Finals & with a good chance of going further.

    Both Arsenal & Chelsea will also be confident of going through with Barcelona again looking like the main threat to the English clubs ambitions for the title.

    Underneath the Stars

  • Comment number 21.

    Read with interest all the comments and red card discussions. I note that nobody has commented on the deliberate elbow on Jonny Evans by Huntelaar right at the end of the first half or does that not count because it was not a United player who committed the offence.
    Where was the red card discussion about this?
    To those who are Manchester United detractorsalways remember this
    Our History makes us Strong - Your Hate Makes Us Stronger

  • Comment number 22.

    Good result! Who needs Ronaldo? Either side could have­ won, but Utd pulled it off. Let's not be­ complacent. If Utd can beat Milan on their home­ ground, Milan are good enough to beat Utd on theirs. ­ These are both top calls Clubs, and winning is their­ game. But I'm mighty relieved at the result. ­ It's a good position to be in for the home­ leg.

    I hate the way haters of man u are saying that milan­ were the better side...if they were the better side­ then why did they miss their important chances? and why­ did we take our chances and go on and win the game?­ They had no­ one like Wayne Rooney!

  • Comment number 23.

    Phil, All you pundits have to answer one thing.....You all praise Rooney!! who is world class talent and i enjoy watching him too...But for me FLETCHER IS THE BEST DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER ON PLANET NOW!! I AM SO DISAPPOINTED THAT HE DOES NOT GET RECOGNITION FOR HIS PERFORMANCE....FOR ME HE IS THE TRUE UNITED HERO!! I TRULY LOVE HIM SO MUCH BECAUSE HE IS SO FOOTBALL ORIENTED AND TRUE LOYALIST!! I WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU PEOPLE DONT RECOGNISE HIS WORK...AND WHY RATE YAYA TOURE AND OTHER PLAYERS MORE POSITIVE AND NOTE THIER PERFORMANCE....

    AND SAME WITH JOHN O SHEA .....HE IS THE BEST VERSATILE PLAYER ON PLANET...HE WAS CENTRE MIDFIELDER FOR 2005 FULL WITH RYAN GIGGS AND FULL RIGHT BACK 2008-09, HE WAS PART OF RECORD BREAKING DEFENSE...WHY UNDERRATE THESE PLAYERS...

    PLEASE CHANGE YOUR BIASED STANCE!!!!!AND PLEASE DONT CALL THEM ANYMORE AS UTILITY PLAYERS...THEY ARE IMPORTANT AS WAYNE ROONEY

  • Comment number 24.

    I feel that this was one of the most heart pounding games of the season so far and one that would have been much easier to watch had I been a neutral. but i feel as a united fan we where extremely poor the first half. I think for a change the occasion got to a few of the players and it showed! it didn't help with Milan scoring so early on with a goal that in truth would have been saved had it not been for a cruel deflection off Evans.

    From then on the crowd was even more up for it! they where electric, you really have to give them credit for the support they gave there team and you could really tell by the later stages this was what was spurring them on to get level.

    United defended way to deem for the first 55 minutes of the game, they sat back and let Milan onto them hoping to catch them on the counter. The one thing they didn't see coming was how good Ronaldiniho and co where at beating there man, countless time there little flicks and tricks would rip of there feet and be away to a team mate before our defence could realise what was happening.

    Playing so deep the midfield was left isolated from Rooney and Nani wasn't able to provide a performance to link the play between the under pressure united defence. So we kept firing long balls out trying to find Rooney, but he was out manned and as such had no one to lay the ball off to or receive the ball from.

    this all changed from around the 60th minute mark where the ageing Milan side started to grow tired. they let there foot slightly off the gas and this allowed united to push forward more allowing the team to push further up the field and unleash Rooney, this coincided with the introduction of Valencia who gave another solid performance in the red shirt and finally united had someone to run at the fullbacks and get a cross into the box. it payed of quickly and united showed the ruthlessness in front of goal.

    The late pressure from Milan only came when the crowd got noisy and united again became nervous and decided to sit back and invite the pressure, a mistake by Rafial lost us possession in our half one to many times and we payed the price. the referee had a bad game and gave some silly decisions although Ferdinand did make his tackle outside the box and was a yellow at most, 2 yards further and it would have been all over for united. but united where never going to win the referees vote in this stadium the noise was deafening and it showed, with some weak tackles forcing the ref to stop play.

    All in all the difference was really the finishing. Rooney proved to all that he is not just a premier league sensation but a world sensation and that he is ready for the world cup. if united are to progress we need to keep our spirits up and keep on at Milan, they wont like us bombarding them. we need to play for a win and not a draw because if we do Milan might just find the back of the net next time round; but Fergie wont let this happen and i foresee united progressing.

    thank you for reading, Jay Matthews

  • Comment number 25.

    He started again with the wrong combination of Nani and Rafael on the right these two players cost us two points against Villa and today Rafael has practically given Milan their second goal by trying to run from the back with the ball. The pair are too indisciplined and naive tactically to be playing on the same side let alone in such a big and intimidating atmosphere.

    Prior to Scholes' fortitous goal he was laying the blame on Evans yes he had some badly timed tackles but the boy was not helped by the more experienced players around Evra, Rio and Carrick not coming to the party.The boy was overawed and Milan targeted him and Rafael and for that SAF should have made contigencies.

    Rafael is off form and one good game against Arsenal should not be the basis for him starting this kind of games. He needlessly gives away fouls and is being targeted by all our opponents and they are reaping rewards time to rethink starting Rafael especially in away matches

    Substitutions it was clear that after the 3rd goal the team needed some fresh legs Park had run himself to the ground was no longer marking and Rafael had been given a torrid time by Ronaldinho he looked a tortured soul.SAF waited until Milan regained the ascendancy to intervene. Tactically SAF is still short. The likes of Guus Hiddink, Capello, Mourinho seem to always have the ability to kill games off with substitutions around the 80th. minute mark. SAF when winning just keeps the same old legs of Scholes, Giggs in this case an exhausted Ji Sung Park when it clear we were being stretched. The same scenario was happnening at Villa Park until Giggs was forced out.

    He must use his bench more effectively or suffer the same fate of United always stuttering to the finish come April. Rooney could have been benched after 75min and given Owen a run

  • Comment number 26.

    rooney's heroism? what a joke- how about "tale of two halves" the only thing that game did show me was that united is not such a strong team and quite vulnerable. they very well could and should have been down by 3 or 4 at halftime. scholes clunker was one of the funniest things i've ever seen at champs lge level. carrick is almost a joke. w/out hargreaves the rest of this season and over the summer is a big problem. ferdinand is very beatable by any good forward and i fear for england's chances in june. and as for rooney's heroism i hope not. the way he bundled over the italian kneeing him in the head and stepping on him showed a true lack of class. this i did not like and may have changed my view on the player. it will take many clean performances for him to win me back that's for sure. dunno about ferguson's senility level, but i'm sure capello didn't like what he saw...

  • Comment number 27.

    @ used2beprofi

    You are actually the only one in the world who claims to be "unimpressed" by Rooney. As for the method in which he scored his goals, you obviously must know more about football than everyone else who saw it as a couple of fantastic headers while you believe he fouled the defender. I wonder who's right, you or everybody else...

    And don't even pretend you support England if you hate Rooney. He's the country's best shot at success. Show's how much you know.

  • Comment number 28.

    I continue reading in awe here. It is obvious United didn't play well in the first half, but a football game is 90 mins and the important thing is a win. What does strike me though - people claiming about United fans inability to claim our team is poor and our players are not the best. Why should we do that?

    Football is like religion - The masses choose to follow different ones and in the one they choose have a blind faith. Can you imagine a Morman saying, well we are o.k in what we say, but I guess Catholicism actually has the edge over us. No, I didn't think so. We pay enough money towards these mere mortals we will swear blind are akin to God, attend our 'church' almost twice weekly and if we do not have this blind faith in them then what is the point? Why would we claim, actually your God is better than ours.

    Last night was a great result for United. The first time we have beaten AC Milan at home, this being with players like 18 year old Rafael marking the legend that is Ronaldhino. Jonny Evans who let's not forget is 21 and behind Vidic and Ferdinand in Central Defence pecking order. If they made mistakes, so be it, we still won and that's all that matters. And to claim Rooney is not world class nor United a strong team then i'm far fetched to imagine what the definition of a strong team is if it's not one point off the top of the league, a massive goal difference from the other 17 with the exception being Arsenal and Chelsea, Carling Cup semi final, ahead in the 1st leg of the 1st knock-out stage of the C.L.... even £200 million Real Madrid cannot boast this.

  • Comment number 29.

    @blessedreds
    i am quite impressed w/ rooney's form of late and have nothing against him, man u, or england. what i did not like by rooney had nothing to do w/ his two headed goals- it was another play where he ran over the italian player. perhaps your feed didn't see it?? and of course i'm NOT a fan of england or anyone. in my job, unlike cfw, remaining neutral is a job requirement...

  • Comment number 30.

    It is sure that Rooney is now the top stiker in the world. I think there will be a stupid offer to buy him from Man Utd soon, with a crazy price, 80 million pounds, for example.

    Park is also a very intelligent and commitment, both in winger and middlefield. However, he is not strong in power and stamina. Hopefully, he will improve soon.

  • Comment number 31.

    Last nights game was a good one, and the best team won it.
    Firstly let me ask a basic question that needs to be asked to judge any team. What is the final result of the game????
    The team that performs the best and take their chances is always the best team.United and Milan had their chances, and i should say that Milan had the bulk of the chances offered on the night, but didnt make use of them.On the other hand united did take their chances and came out trumps.
    I think its just not fair just to blame the referee, or any other reason to undermine utds win last night.
    United were not at their best on the night, and i agree to it. but they were better than Milan on the night and deserve what they got.
    Just imagine what the result would be if United did play well/////

  • Comment number 32.

    @used2beprofi

    I've no idea what your job is or what it has to do with football or indeed impartiality but I'd say your biased against Wayne Rooney. He has matured recently and has not been making the gestures and little dirty fouls of late.

    You're not exactly neutral if you ridicule the team and its players based on little to no evidence. Just food for thought.

  • Comment number 33.

    There is always so much negativaty about Utd. and how badly they're doing on these posts. Utd. fans are constantly being advised to give up their hopes of winning any titles this year. Are you all crazy? Did you hit your collective heads while falling out of the stupid tree? Yes, Utd. have been slow out of the blocks this year, perhaps slower than previous years, but they remain in a position that all but Chelsea are envious of, and even then, I half suspect that Chelsea would rather be playing for Man U. anyway, since Utd. have made them pick the soap up off the shower floor for the last 3 seasons. If nothing else, history should have taught you never to right off a Utd. side.

  • Comment number 34.

    well I have read alot of crappy comments on here so decided to post my own...........

    Firstly I agree with most of this blog, I do believe wayne rooney is unbelievable at the moment and as a man utd fan and england fan I hope it continues.

    Rio Ferdinand didn't have the best game but as we all know he has been out injured for some months then suspended so rustiness definately has to set in but he will be fantastic as england captain and will only regain his form as the season draws to an end, plus I'm not so sure why Ferdinand is being blamed for a foul he never commited because if you look closely he clearly got the ball????? did know one see the replay?

    I personally think Fletcher could get into any team in europe bar teams who just like BIG NAMED players because his industry and energy is above most midfielders in the game..

    I do agree we were very lucky but that is football and sometimes luck is a major factor in winning games...FACT!!

    As for separating the old men from the boys!! Milan were waiting to be picked off by man utd, if you have three lazy players who sit up front and wait for an attacking move of the oppositions to break down then you are asking for trouble!! maybe if they joined in on the defensive side of the game they wouldn't look like old men but a formidable team because they have a talent that matches any team in europe!!

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 36.

    A great result but shaky defensive performance. Evans and Fabio are young and will be better for the experience. Ronaldinho looked back to his best in the first half so credit that he had no impact in the 2nd.
    Park and Nani wouldn't get on the bench elsewhere. Fletcher is not a great he is a good stopper. Scholes was by far our best midfielder. Valencia showed what a bit of skill and composure can do for Rooney's 1st. Nani didn't put in a decent cross and no surprise he was substituted. With Rooney causing so much trouble as a lone striker Man Utd are able to play 5 in midfield against the best teams and this is a tactic that seems to work.

  • Comment number 37.

    Did any of you haters actually watch the United game?

    Ok first off Beckhams freekick was good, fast and caused insant danger which is why Evra did that kick and Ronaldinho scored...

    Nani was not his best, he should have ran at the defender more than caused more trouble like Ronaldo and wasted loads of balls but... After the first 30 minutes when he did start to have more of a go at the defender, he goes and injures himself. On springs a new left back and Nani was back at square 1.

    Also Park's role in being an offensive helper today made things baffling as all attacking play was down the right, so Nani had a load of time with the ball but no space. And Evra's forward runs were flawed and ruined by the fact there was no left winger to overlap.

    Rio's tackle was not a foul, saw it a million times on replay and even pundits agree he managed to even niggle the ball.. which states it wasn't a foul and even if it was given it wudda been outside the area and a yellow.

    Scholes' build up to his goal was fabulous and the misskick was hilarious but deserved after their goal took a big deflection from a tame shot.

    Also about United's own goals tally, look at the pressure from every single goal. All of them are United pumping balls into the box, like 1 or 2 a minute for 20 odd minutes then an own goal. So much pressure with 10 people in the box, all those crosses are bound to bounce in their own net eventually.

    Rooney first half as hoping for more balls to feet so he could play, and yeah the defence was too far back and out of place. 2nd half he stole the show, the slow but surely approach how he got the ball more and more after the hour till the last 10 minutes and had i think 7 or 8 shots, scoring 2 important goals.

    Valencia was a great sub but if he was on for 90 minutes i dont think we would have thought that, considering Nani's recent performances deserved him the spot.

    Rafael is still young and its good hes getting these games but come next game SAF has to refer to the ever wonderful Wes Brown. Either a master of defence or sometimes does the odd clangers, i find he always works his socks off for United.

    Even last season when O'shea was there i was gutted Brown was injured then unplayed even though O'shea was doing well.

    The double season saw Evra Vidic Rio Brown play, and i hope we use those 4 against milan on home turf as I think he will be way more effective.

    Oh and an inform Nani made Clichy look pathetic who is a fantastic left back on a bad day. But Ronaldinho still couldn't help Milan win even though Rafael isn't that great and made so many errors I cant even remember yet he still wasn't exploited enough until the 2nd milan goal then when United realised they subbed him off anyway!

    The red card was a joke, when it was 1-1 Milan kicked the ball away numerous times and a lot further than Carrick's touch, even though i'm not even sure he got a touch on it. And someone saying Evra should have got it for a non foul and been sent off!!? He wasn't even on a yellow and that was no way a red challenge or even a yellow for that matter. Carrick should not have been sent off though.

    Next match i say play the 07/08 CL winning back 4 like i mentioned before. Scholes and Fletcher in the center. Valencia and Park on the wings with red bull to make them constantly go for the ball and run with it. Rooney Berba up front. See what happens for 60 minutes, then bring on Owen, Nani and Obertan for Berba and the wingers and fire all guns and tricks and risky stuff for a last 30 minute goal haulage that would be easy to do for united.

    Obertan and Nani both play better as subs, vs tired defenders with their made legs is brilliant. Owen is amazing in Europe and would frustrate the 40 year old Milan defence into conceding which would probably be 3 Ow(e)n goals! haha

    United are through 100%. Whatever Milan score at Old Trafford, Rooney will do more!

  • Comment number 38.

    Milan's home game so thay naturally felt that they had to go for it and they did early on. United seemed nervous and not fully on their game but they rallied in the 2nd half and controlled the game for long periods. A typical cagey European first leg when the result means everything and that's what Utd got.

    But now to the meat and potatos. Dear me, but the ABU's are a sad bunch. Where to start......

    A10. At 00:39am on 17 Feb 2010, NI_Football_Fan wrote:
    "I am so sick and tired of the hysteria of man united fans..."

    The only hysteria I've read on here is your entire rant.....all of which is rubbish and lacking in any objectivity or judgement whatsoever.

    @14. At 01:40am on 17 Feb 2010, nibs wrote:
    "For those who did not watch the game:
    Milan could have scored fifteen.
    And this is not an exaggeration."

    8 shots on target some of which were comfortable saves for VDS......but no, that's not an exaggeration at all....is it??

    @16. At 01:47am on 17 Feb 2010, Plummy wrote
    "But again United, somehow get that break, that luck they need to get back into the game (i believe theyve had 10 Own Goals too this season - says it all) and i have never known a team to get so many pieces of good fortune, and im not exagerrating, am i?"

    Learn something about the game I suggest! Own goals are forced through pressure on the opposition. As for tonights game, Scholes may have gotten a lucky deflection off his standing foot but did he not find acres of space on the Milan 6 yard line and Fletcher delivered an excellent cross. If ever there was a case of making your own luck that was it.

    And yet you conveniently overlook the fact that Ronaldinho's shot was going comfortably to VDS before it took a wicked deflection.......but that can't be luck because it went against Utd. Grow-up!

    and "and i still feel, because of Uniteds somewhat dodgy defence that it is still there for Milan to win".

    Would that be the dodgy defence that has been decimated by injuries this season yet still has the 2nd best defensive record in the PL, better than Chelsea,and makes Liverpool and Arsenal look 2nd rate??

    Yes Phil, it's all about the result. United were outstanding against Inter at the San Siro last season but only came away with a draw. They didn't play nearly as well at home but won 2-0. How is it that so many people look at a single game and decide that that is the definitive form of a team when, of course, there are always good performances and bad?

    It's about conistency and quality over a long hard season and so far United have enough of both to be major contenders for the 2 big trophies on offer.








  • Comment number 39.

    I cannot believe the audacity of some fans here claiming that it was luck that won Man U the game. How does luck come into play when you have 10 Minutes of pressure against a team that justs at the back, waiting to defend. The reason Man U were at San Siro has everything to do with their perfomance that has led them to this stage. Not luck. No one can be that Lucky: Ask Liverpool ;)| I daresay, The lads pushed on, were out-classed at first, but pushed on. and SAF did his part, doing what he does best: pushing them on. Maybe other Managers prefer to kick bottles or throw fits... But SAF will address the problem. (Do the Man U Players have an in-house Psychiatrist for all that hairdrying? It looked more like an electrocution!) I am veering, but so? The winning team mentality always wins, and even if Rooney was not there, others will step up to the task. They always do. Infact, Rooney's not the leading scorer at Man U for the CL, is he?

  • Comment number 40.

    Good 2nd half but average 1st half by Wayne. There is no way Rooney was MOTM, Van Der Sar and Ronaldinho were the best player on the pitch

  • Comment number 41.

    Good blog Phil. But as all other journalists you have kept the attention on Beckham (who does not deserve any, unfortunately) and to Rooney (who does not need any). Because, Rooney has become hands down one of the most predatory and efficient strikers in the world, an undeniable fact given his record. And I am not a Man U fan.

    But I think you have underestimated, or failed to mention, the importance of the Carrick-Fletcher duo in the Man U midfield which I think is as hardworking as it is deadly effective. I feel bad for Carrick who is week in week out a work horse who does not get a lot of attention despite his phenomenal work rate. It is due to Carrick's ability to break up possession in midfield that Fletcher was able to run forward and link up with Rooney in many occasions. And by the way, whoever says Fletcher is not a great all around midfielder must not have watched him play. Fletcher's play these days remind me of Guti in his younger days.

    But the sending off of Carrick is a major blow to United, I think. It will be interesting to see how will SAF play when returning but with Seedorf just behind the two attacking players and pirlo just behind him, there will be a need for a strong screen player in front of the atrocious evans-ferdinand partnership something that Scholes cannot quite deliver any longer.

    While Man U's defense is porous to say the least, what has happened to the legendary Milan's back four. Maldini and Baresi must have been embarrassed last night, especially after the third goal. How can Nesta not communicate with T. Silva, who is a world class defender methinks, and not pick up Rooney in what was a Sunday league goal? It was the same when they attacked the same ball from the corner cross late in the game. It seems Leonardo is trying to make Milan a Brazilian attacking team with no bombing full backs (i mean favalli?!) and without gatusso, the man Milan clearly missed at the back yesterday.

    A last talking point is the fact that a starting Beckham for Milan was a huge mistake not because he was ineffective but also because it meant that Milan's two attackers (Pato and Huntelaar) were not getting the service they were supposed to from Beckham. It is hard to believe Pato played yesterday at all. But it was no surprise that Milan came to life after Seedorf's introduction who roamed left and right of the midfield giving ronaldinho and huntelaar more space on the flanks. While Milan are undeniably missing Kaka's ability to open up defenses, Seedorf is such a smart, midfield controlling player, that I think his late start due to Beckham cost Milan the game. I dont think Leonardo will make the mistake of not starting Seedorf in Manchester.

    Whether it will make a difference, remains to be seen. It will however be a cracking game, no doubt about it.

  • Comment number 42.

    In all, UTD had their mojo for about 15 minutes in which they scored two wonderful goals.

    Aside from that, there was a lack of concentration and signs of cracks that an ageing Milan side should not be capable of exposing.

    Park illustrated he has energy but no inventiveness, seemingly panicking when faced with the back four, Nani was back to his old tricks, Fletcher was fantastic and so was Rooney.

    A very mixed night of emotions and I will watch the second leg with an air of worry.

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil, your blogs in the past few weeks have been a pain to read, and this one is nearly the same.

    I don't understand what you have against Becks...he was okay last night, but surely he had to come off for Seedorf for different style of play. And he surely is going to South Africa, like it or not. Tell me which English right winger is in great form now, and that's why Caps is still checking on Becks. Moreover, you say he didn't show anything new...c'mon, you expect a 34-year old to come up with something new? All we want is some solid performances, that's all.

    Rooney is definitely in great form now, but I feel the media is overhyping him with comments like he's world class, among the greats, better than Cristiano Ronaldo, as good as Raul, as good as Ronaldinho etc... practise some humility please, because he he doesn't perform at the World Cup, it will all mean nothing in the end.

  • Comment number 44.

    e started again with the wrong combination of Nani and Rafael on the right these two players cost us two points against Villa and today Rafael has practically given Milan their second goal by trying to run from the back with the ball. The pair are too indisciplined and naive tactically to be playing on the same side let alone in such a big and intimidating atmosphere.

    Prior to Scholes' fortitous goal he was laying the blame on Evans yes he had some badly timed tackles but the boy was not helped by the more experienced players around Evra, Rio and Carrick not coming to the party.The boy was overawed and Milan targeted him and Rafael and for that SAF should have made contigencies.

    Rafael is off form and one good game against Arsenal should not be the basis for him starting this kind of games. He needlessly gives away fouls and is being targeted by all our opponents and they are reaping rewards time to rethink starting Rafael especially in away matches

    Substitutions it was clear that after the 3rd goal the team needed some fresh legs Park had run himself to the ground was no longer marking and Rafael had been given a torrid time by Ronaldinho he looked a tortured soul.SAF waited until Milan regained the ascendancy to intervene. Tactically SAF is still short. The likes of Guus Hiddink, Capello, Mourinho seem to always have the ability to kill games off with substitutions around the 80th. minute mark. SAF when winning just keeps the same old legs of Scholes, Giggs in this case an exhausted Ji Sung Park when it clear we were being stretched. The same scenario was happnening at Villa Park until Giggs was forced out.

    He must use his bench more effectively or suffer the same fate of United always stuttering to the finish come April. Rooney could have been benched after 75min and given Owen a run

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    You must be a Fergie hater, SAF is clearly the best manager in the world...

  • Comment number 45.

    And a comment about the match...

    I'm still trying to find out how Milan switched off that much to allow Rooney score those 2 headers. Otherwise Milan played well in the first half and after scoring the third. Man Utd weren't at their imperious best, but I applaud them for their win.

    Individually, Ronaldinho played very well, and Pato gave Evra a torrid time. I didn't expect Becks to start, but I don't think he did that badly. Indeed the arrival of Seedorf was crucial, and I suggest he start in the return leg.

    Fletcher was superb last night, some great assists for the goals...don't have to elaborate on Rooney, took his finishes well. Also Valencia showed Nani how the simple things are done.

    However, Man U have been suspect at home this season, so this tie is far from over...

  • Comment number 46.

    Fanatics and haters wil always cease to appreciate gud football...d difference in all departments on d pitch ws mouthwatering. Frm d goalkeepers,even at 39,VDS stil saves and carries d team as though he jst clockd 20,wit him in goal,im always confident dt something worthwhile wld come up. In d defense,at first we were a lil bit shaky,probably cos of d milan fans,bt we coped wel or can u not see hw my young rafael held d revitalised ronaldinho who had 2 change positions cos he cld get past d fineboy da silva. In d midfield,it was experience against power and pace. Fletcher was d best at d night,he showd masterclass,evn creating 2 goals..D older legs tried bt dy cldnt get past. Up front,who says wazza isnt d best striker in d world at d moment? He again,contrary to d opinion of many,has carried d day wit 2 sublime headers. Pls,vote rooney 4 d european player of d year...And ronaldinho,what was dt media hype for?

  • Comment number 47.

    Phil, nice piece but your blog is continuously becoming a platform of heaping W. Rooney praise, Capello and England's S. Africa's feature.
    I am United fun and its true Rooney is scoring goals and in grate form but the way you don't give attention to Fletcher when you are commenting on Man U leaves me asking on your objectivity.
    In your mind does it not cross that Fletcher's accurate passing, tackles and endless runs have saved Rooney, sometimes, the need of dropping back and actually contributed to most of the goals Wayne has scored????????
    Did you see Rafael and Park yesterday or it was only Rooney playing??? Why not a mention of Rio's error????

  • Comment number 48.

    For those who did not watch the game:

    Milan could have scored fifteen.

    ---

    for those who DID - they didn't. They lost 3-2.

    Great logic. Congratulations

  • Comment number 49.

    "One Italian newspaper likened Beckham to a waxwork model after defeat to Inter in the Milan derby. This is both harsh and disrespectful(...)"

    Some would say that the way the English press handles Terry is both harsh and disrespectful. Don't judge other (press)cultures by your standards, please, because standards tend to differ.

    Otherwise yeah, spot on, tough nothing more than stating the obvious.

  • Comment number 50.

    Rooney, Fletcher and Park had very good games last night, Evans had a nightmare but it will stand to him in the future, Milan are old and could not maintain their play of the first 20 min, probably the deflected early goal helped them play so well, all in all united played average, with the above exceptions , won 3-2 away to Milan and should progress, first leg job done, btw Fletcher is the most improved player in the united team by a country mile and people who slag him off now saying he is not good do not know what they are talking about, simple

  • Comment number 51.

    flo pat-could you now write that in english-cheers.

  • Comment number 52.

    I am surprised how often you seem to take offence on footballers behalf. A paper being disrespectful to Beckham? Com'on he is multi millonare who is a shadow of his former self and is not above criticsm. Why should they have any more respect for him than most journos do for anyone else?
    United didn't loose, Milian didnt' score 15 Ferdinand didn't get a red card, so all arguements around that are a waste of space. I don't imagine United will make the same mistake twice. I would surprised if they did. Ferdinand usually has a shocker first time back after an absent spell. The return leg is 3 weeks away, I can see Vidic Ferdinand in the centre and Milan getting many less opportunities than last night. It's all about goals not chances. United took there's. I predicted United to Win 3:1 and Lyon to win on 606 and was practically laughed off the page. Even if Milan win at OT which at the moment I don't believe they are capable of, the certainly won't do it by 2 clear goals which is the minimum they need at the moment. United I believe were suffering stage fright and beckhamiteis last night. They will certainly have gotten over it by the return leg.

  • Comment number 53.

    46. At 07:23am on 17 Feb 2010, Flo Pat wrote:
    Fanatics and haters wil always cease to appreciate gud football...d difference in all departments on d pitch ws mouthwatering. Frm d goalkeepers,even at 39,VDS stil saves and carries d team as though he jst clockd 20,wit him in goal,im always confident dt something worthwhile wld come up. In d defense,at first we were a lil bit shaky,probably cos of d milan fans,bt we coped wel or can u not see hw my young rafael held d revitalised ronaldinho who had 2 change positions cos he cld get past d fineboy da silva. In d midfield,it was experience against power and pace. Fletcher was d best at d night,he showd masterclass,evn creating 2 goals..D older legs tried bt dy cldnt get past. Up front,who says wazza isnt d best striker in d world at d moment? He again,contrary to d opinion of many,has carried d day wit 2 sublime headers. Pls,vote rooney 4 d european player of d year...And ronaldinho,what was dt media hype for?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Did U snd dat bi mobile fone? dis is disgraceful.

  • Comment number 54.

    at post #10, the word "fan" in your name must be a misprint as you obviously know nothing about football from the complete rubbish you wrote, rant on that

  • Comment number 55.

    Nice posts.

    Phil too much in terms of propaganda.

    Rock on United. We need to focus and be more professional to rise up. Old Trafford second leg 2 Man United - Milan 1.

    Ultimately, the beginning was a wake-up call. Evans should be farmed out. Continue white Pele!! With offense scoring and defense sort of performing then hopefully we will progress.

    First of many....

  • Comment number 56.

    AS a manchester United player, i am worried about our midfield, with carrick and giggs out, it will further put intense pressure on our already fragile defence.

    Nani was really poor, it seemed he was in a mission to prove he's equally better than Ronaldo, where he failed miserably.I really would pick Valencia anytime over Nani

  • Comment number 57.

    Phil - you'll find it was Tuesday yesterday

  • Comment number 58.

    I think the starting 11 at OT will have Berbatov Valencia and Brown and in truth I think Milan could be on the end of a hammering.

  • Comment number 59.

    The usual anti-United negativity on BBC blogs here, from supporters of othe rival teams. Enough said.

    Concentrating on the game itself and United's performance, sure United were lucky to go in at half time at 1-1, but the way they played in the 2nd half more than made up for that. In the first half there were too many unforced errors (e.g. Scholes gifting the ball to Milan, Evra's too fancy attempt at a clearance to name but two). Also far too many long ball punts from defence or VDS up to Rooney who, while doing OK with them, was never going to profit from this tactic. Nani regressed to his former self, with his crossing abysmal.

    The 2nd half was so different. After a couple of early scares United settled into their passing game and began to unlock a tiring defence. A quality cross from Valencia and an even better chipped pass from the still under-rated by many Fletcher were finished by the excellent Rooney. Shame about the mentality change which led to Milan's 2nd goal - trying to run the ball out of defence and losing the ball is not the way in those circumstances.

    As far as individuals are concerned, Fletcher, Rooney, Carrick, Van der Sar and Park were excellent. Rafael's defensive frailties worry me (Brown would have been better there last night), particularly in the first half against Ronaldinho. Ferdinand did OK considering his long absence, and I thought Evans was unlucky to get such a public berating from SAF. Scholes was good going forward but looked shaky defensively. Evra needed help from midfield on the left if he was to produce his true form. Nani should have been replaced by Valencia earlier - Valencia's a no-nonsense winger who delivers the goods.

    Hopefully we can keep Milan at bay at OT and progress the QF.

  • Comment number 60.

    If Man Utd are so bad and are only a game against a good team away from 'getting their weaknesses exposed' or words to that effect that people have mentioned, why has it not happened yet?

    They lost unluckily 1-0 to Chelsea, have beaten Arsenal twice (3-1 comfortably on their own ground) and lost 2-0 to Liverpool at Anfield, which is hardly a disgraceful result. Fair enough they've lost a couple of other games, but then Chelsea have lost to Wigan and Villa (same as United) and no-one thinks they're going to get thrashed by a better team at some point.

    I don't even support Man Utd by the way, but there must be a reason why they always win or draw when people think they should lose, it's not 100% luck.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think Fletcher, the un-sung hero of the night, the season and last season should be getting more and more praise. His progression over the last 3 years should be an inspiration to anyone who wants to make it to the top. Quality midfielder. quality proffessional. And.....I think if he were english, he would get a starting place in Capello's world cup team.

  • Comment number 62.

    Vikram_Raj - I have NEVER heard Taggart described as tactically short before...how does someone who is so poor with his tactics win as many trophies as he has during his time as a manager? That one gave me a good chuckle, I have to say. How can you doubt a man who has won so much? How many times have United won games in the last few minutes? Does that suggest tactical shortness?

  • Comment number 63.


    At 21:39 on 16 Feb 2010, Phil McNulty wrote:

    "shows the in-built reserves of resilience"


    Ha yes Scholes Rio & co got skinned with great resilience by that guy in the photo.

    They also showed great resilience at gifting them free shots & headers all night long.



  • Comment number 64.

    NI_Football_Fan @ 10 – what a complete load of garbage!! You have made me laugh!! Everybody is entitled to their opinion but you are so wide off the mark it is ridiculous!!

    How can you say that Milan deserved to win, what game were you watching?? United dominated for periods of the match particularly in the 2nd half when Milan couldn’t get near them!! Yes Milan had a couple of good chances but if you don’t take them at this level you will get punished and United are masters at this! Fletcher is a top midfielder and if you can’t see this then you really haven’t got a clue about football (the lad set up the 1st and 3rd goals last night)!! He’s a box to box midfielder with unbelievable energy levels!

    By your name I’m guessing you’re from NI!! Which makes sense considering you talk about Rio having a shocker when clearly our worst player on the park was Jonny Evans, bit of bias there I suspect!!

    People like you make me laugh!!

  • Comment number 65.

    "56. At 08:39am on 17 Feb 2010, blue-eyedCatkiller wrote:
    AS a manchester United player, i am worried about our midfield, with carrick and giggs out, it will further put intense pressure on our already fragile defence."


    Really? Which United player are you? Rooney?

  • Comment number 66.

    "It got them through on Wednesday and makes them huge favourites to move into the quarter-finals."

    - Wasn't it Tuesday? . . .

  • Comment number 67.

    Mercy... some folk are needing to wake up.. Man Utd went to the San Siro and scored 3 away goals.. would have had the tie buried if they had kept their concentration levels.. this deserves some plaudits.. who cares if they didnt play well the 1st half.. they rode it and came away with a result.

    Milan threw the game when they played pirlo and ambro against 3 strong midfielders in carrick, scholes and fletcher.. this should have been addressed by Leonardo and Gattuso or Flamini should have been introduced at half time.. The time fletcher got for Rooney's 2nd was criminal..

    the only thing I will say is I have read a few above saying Ferdinand's tackle wasnt a foul and he wouldnt have been sent off anyway if it was given.. Disagree.. doesnt matter if you foul outside the box.. its still red if you're last man.. which he was.. no one was getting back to Ronaldinho in time and it was goalscoring.. this means red.. and I dont think the ball scuffing the underside of your boot as it goes by you constitutes winning it.. merely touching you as you are beaten is not a tackle.. The ball went by him.. his foot made contact with Roanldinho who then went down.. this is a foul Im afraid and would have been a Fk and sending off..

  • Comment number 68.

    Miss the game last nite but from I read, most people said ManU was lucky to win. Well, luck is indeed part of the game but, what we should call for a team that play good, create thousands of chances, has much more ball possession, etc. etc. but scored only one or no goal: bad execution or .... I don't want to say winning is all that matters but the fact is, playing good is great entertain but playing smart is hard. ManU is a good team, sometimes they play bad so what, still they can take their chances. They suffered this kind of display (on being the loosing team despite playing great football) too.

  • Comment number 69.

    I wish it was not this way but...I can see Man Utd lifting the CL trophy...

    This season they have had the rub of the green own goals, deflections etc. which has made up for the injury situation and Ronaldo leaving....which given that they have the largest squad in the UK, possibly Europe is less an issue than for many other teams. (See Arsenal's injury situation this season for a real injury problem)

    Man Utd have lifted their game recently and played well. I would not gush too much. Last night they were outclassed for large parts and were lucky to have won. But they won and that's what counts.

    In Rooney they have someone who is hungry and bang in form and goals change games. Goals will paper over any cracks. If Milan had hid accuracy last night they would have been out of sight.

    Chelsea and Man U have strikers in top form at the moment and in both cases theses strikers are making the difference. Right now for me Man Utd. have the edge...Barcelona will go close but not close enough, same for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 70.

    Just thinking of the Chelsea vs Arsenal game. Arsenal had close to 60% of the possession and had quite a bit of shots on target. Chelsea had a meagre 3 shots on goal and 2 of that shots was goals. Chelsea played really bad in my opionion. But with all teams capable of winning is that they know you don;t need to be pretty on the field. They soaked up the pressure and were very patient as that is what top teams do. Arsenal put in attack upon attack with fancy passes and Cech was also rolling back the years and put in a sound performence to deny them. What seperates Arsenal from Chelsea is that chelsea knows a win is win and it does not need to pretty and they knew what to do when with Arsenal and all Arsenal efforts were to waste.

    The same with Milan vs MU. Milan came out firing on all cylinders. Utd did not know what steam train hit them. To concede in the first few minutes at the san siro is a big blow. Like Cech, Van der Sar also rolled back the years and absorbed all the pressure for UTD as that what champion teams do. UTD played ugly football and were all over the place but knew they just needed a small opportunity and they took it. Milan being fancy did not take their opportunity. UTD probably knew all their Geriatrics were going to tire soon at the pace they were going and they were patient.

  • Comment number 71.

    As an aside, on the assumption Rooney was always going to be that good, where would Everton be if they hadn't succumed to the black arts of agents greed and Manchester United's tapping up skills, if "one a blue always a blue" had actually meant something? And where would Manchester United be now without him?

  • Comment number 72.

    I was very impressed with the way Milan started the game, admittedly I was slightly worried – I think they went for it a bit too much as it showed in the second half. When the deflected shot hit the back of the net I did think to myself ‘not again’ Milan seem to know how to approach UTD.
    Fletcher has a great game, Rooney quality as always. Having Edwin VDS between the posts sort of gives me a confident feeling its great that he puts a performance in week in week out at his age.

    Having read through the above comments, most points are made with terrible points – UTD could of let in 15 goals or something?
    and one in particular badly written! (46)

    UTD to take AC apart at OT almost certainly!

    We didn’t play good football at all for 75% of the match, they brought the game to us (as you should do at home)
    But to grind out a result at the San Serio AND get 3 goals away from home – I would of took a 1-1 draw on the night to be honest.

    Ferguson will mix things up a bit and i’m certain of progressing.

    Cheers all.

  • Comment number 73.

    Vikram_Raj - I have NEVER heard Taggart described as tactically short before...how does someone who is so poor with his tactics win as many trophies as he has during his time as a manager? That one gave me a good chuckle, I have to say. How can you doubt a man who has won so much? How many times have United won games in the last few minutes? Does that suggest tactical shortness?

    -------------------------------------------------------

    I think he is just being silly, ignore him.

  • Comment number 74.

    At 00:39am on 17 Feb 2010, NI_Football_Fan wrote:

    I am so sick and tired of the hysteria of man united fans. You can't see the wood for the trees. The result tonight merely papered over the major cracks waiting to be exposed by a better team than Milan in the next round. (Don't forget this is a Milan team with an average age of 30+ who were tanked by a nine man inter milan side a few weeks ago.)

    Lets be honest here, Milan well and truly deserved the win tonight, and its not a result of Man United's ability that that outcome wasn't the result, rather Milan's ineptitude in front of goal. Any other team in the tournament that had a striker/finisher worth his salt would have had man u dead and buried in the first half. In fact forget that, Geoff Horsefield would even have put away those chances. It was men against boys. (Albeit old men as the fatigue in the second half for Milan showed).

    The only saving grace for this united side is Rooney. He is carrying the side single handed. I almost feel sorry for the burden he's under carrying that Europa League (at best) midfield. Darren Fletcher, contrary to the prevailing opinion in the first few posts, is not a European class central midfielder. The importance of Darren Fletcher to Uniteds midfield is more of a damning indictment of how far the abililty of Man United's midfield has fallen in recent years than his individual improvement. Mark my words, there is not one major european club out there wishing they had Darren Fletcher as a central midfielder in their team.

    All in all, Man U got out of jail tonight. Forget aspirations of winning the tournament and look at things objectively for once. The defence is porous, (Rio Ferdinand as England captain and centre back for the world cup?? Don't be warming your trophy lifting arm up Rio), the midfield has is out of its depth and the goal keeper is an accident waiting to happen.

    Rant over!

    .........................................................................

    Hate United as much as you want or wish.. and that will stay as a problem to only YOU.
    I wonder whether you use logic or statistics! If Milan's 11 were aged, what happened to youthful Arsenal side when they faced united last year in ECL and recently in EPL?
    United will ride to the final and lift the trophy as you rant and stay on the negative side of life looking for excuse words like "waiting for a better side to expose...", Expose to what? From What? Its actually United exposing the Europeans 'decorated giants'!
    The result is United 3 - 2 Milan and the venue was San Siro PERIOD

  • Comment number 75.

    Once again eh? Another lucky united performance. That's 4 years running now we've been getting away with it.

    How many other teams stroll into the san siro and put in a commanding performance for 90 minutes?

    United started to get themselves back into the match after a great milan start, and once the 1st goal went in, United grew as a team. As soon as Rooney put United in front, there was only one winner. VDS had nothing to do second half

    Also a point pundits seem to be spectacularly missing - Milan were the home side. They HAD to win last night, they now face the task of winning by 2 CLEAR GOALS AT OLD TRAFFORD. It was a great European performance from United.

  • Comment number 76.

    United came away with the win, a brilliant result after not playing at their best. The top teams always manage to not play well but win, to do this against Milan away is phenomenal.

    In my opinion, luck evens out, many comments appear to forget that Milans only goal came from a deflection.

    I have never seen Fergie give a hairdryer like that on the pitch, I bet Evans was dreading half time!

    Also, everytime Inzaghe comes on he seems to almost always score, frightening the life out of me! He very nearly put that chance away to make it 3-3, he is even better than Kevein Phillips at arriving at the right time!

  • Comment number 77.

    71. At 09:04am on 17 Feb 2010, Clarkeonenil wrote:
    As an aside, on the assumption Rooney was always going to be that good, where would Everton be if they hadn't succumed to the black arts of agents greed and Manchester United's tapping up skills, if "one a blue always a blue" had actually meant something? And where would Manchester United be now without him?


    It's always the same isn't it? Where would United be without Cantona, Keane, Beckham, Van Nistelrooy and more recently Ronaldo? The answer is always the same - contesting for titles and cups. Why not give some credit to SAF for his player development capabilities? If Rooney had stayed at Everton he may or may not have developed as well under Moyes's leadership as under SAF's. One thing's for sure, though - SAF's record after losing "key" players is second to none.

  • Comment number 78.


    Ronnie tore you to shreds.

    And he's not even in the Brazil squad.



  • Comment number 79.

    I'm so fed up with all this "Rooney is the only thing keeping utd afloat" talk. Yes he is a pretty amazing footballer, and yes he is their best player at the minute, but untill I see him, save a shot from the opposite team, make all the tackles, pass the ball to himself and then score a goal then its complete rubbish. Yes he does score most of their goals at the minute, but who's to say that berba or owen may not also contribute if they actually got played. Lets also not forget the fact that he is now playing as a target man and is positioned far up the pitch, he tracks back less than he used to so how does he get the ball to make the shot? TO be fair, yes, the midfield can be dodgy at times, but for every time rooney scores, they will have provided him with good service. All i'm trying to say is that yes Rooney is good, but just because he grabs the headlines from scoring goals, the rest of the team shouldn't be written off.

    Fair enough, utd the first 20 mins or so, but they came into the game and dominated. Lets not also forget that the team is basically the same as it has been for the past 3 years, back when it was fergies best team ever!

  • Comment number 80.

    Firstly it was a strange game, both teams looked poor at the back, neither midfield took control and the strikers played in 10 minute spells.

    Great to watch but just weird.

    I am amazed by the number of people who have said Ronaldinho was the best player on the pitch. I am all for a bit of showboating but he is a disgrace to young footballers who look up to him.

    He only ever looks interested when Milan are on the attack, when he lost the ball he stood there with no intention of helping out defensively….what kind of role model is that for kids? Give me an industrial James Milner any day…..well maybe not but hopefully you see where I am going.

    The worst thing is seeing my old favourite player Scholes, clearly showcasing his once ‘no.1 in the world for two touch football’ is now deserting him.

    Ps. Has anybody seen any team that looks like it could give Barca a good game???????

  • Comment number 81.

    It always amazes me to see how many Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and Chelsea fans comment on a Man Utd based article. Your obession with Man Utd rather than your own club is very reason why we will always be the biggest and most successful club. As Man Utd fans are only concerned with what happens with our club and no one else's…
    All Tuesday everyone was reporting about Man Utd's bad record against AC. When we go out and win in Milan, people still say Milan were the better team.. 3 away goals suits me fine, Milan need to score now we can hit them all day on the counter..

  • Comment number 82.

    Ronnie tore you to shreds.

    And he's not even in the Brazil squad.

    ===

    He's not gonna be in the champions league for much longer either.

    He showed everyone last night what he used to produce every week. It was a big game, Milan's players were always up for a big game. Defensively, they got found out last night though. And yet the british media have decided it is United who have most to worry about....United have set a european record of 16 unbeaten away games. "They'll get found out sooner or later".....hahahaha

  • Comment number 83.

    ~76 correction.

    Sorry not only goal, I meant one of their goals!!

  • Comment number 84.

    Ps. Has anybody seen any team that looks like it could give Barca a good game???????

    ===

    erm....FK Rubin Kazan maybe????

  • Comment number 85.

    78. At 09:22am on 17 Feb 2010, nibs wrote:

    Ronnie tore you to shreds.

    And he's not even in the Brazil squad.


    ____________________________________________________________________


    He scored via a deflection and then set up the second goal well. Fletcher set up two and Rooney scored two. They both did more than Ronaldinho.

  • Comment number 86.

    McNulty wrote: "It got them through on Wednesday".

    Forgive me but the game was on Tuesday. Nitpicking I know but then it is easy to fnd fault with anything McNulty says. How many times is he going to keep saying Rooney is ALMOST the complete player - does he have to go in goal a bit before he will bestow that ultimate accolade of removing the "almost". Also, how many times will he tempt fate by talking about the possibility of Rooney getting injured?

  • Comment number 87.

    Wasn't a vintage United performance by any stretch, and Milan definitely had their chances in the first half (although few critich have alluded to how fortunate Milan where with their first goal which set the tone for the first 25 mins). United have been in good form recently and it's indicative of a team with a winning mentality that they win when not at their best.

    As for people criticising Fletcher - you need to go to Specsavers, he was superb last night and regularly performs in the big games.

    Several posts trying to knock United also, this merely supports their leading position in the British game - the best team is their to be shot down and supporters of inferior teams will always do this.

  • Comment number 88.

    84. At 09:37am on 17 Feb 2010, Kapnag wrote:

    Ps. Has anybody seen any team that looks like it could give Barca a good game???????

    ===

    erm....FK Rubin Kazan maybe????

    --------------

    Sorry I meant from the teams left in the competition, sorry for confusing you!

  • Comment number 89.

    "nibs"
    For those who did not watch the game:

    Milan could have scored fifteen.

    And this is not an exaggerarion.


    Ronnie tore you to shreds.

    And he's not even in the Brazil squad.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I love this guy, pure comedy.

    the first comment is addressed to people that didnt watch the game, because those that did realise that he is exaggerating and that Milan only scored 2 from about 8 shots on target.

    Ronaldinho was quite impressive, but he certainly didn't "tear Utd to shreads" because that would mean we would be as good as out of Europe having lost heavilly to Milan. But we didnt - we won 3-2 at a ground where we had previously never scored or even drawn.

    anyway

    The first half we were terrible, and we were lucky not to concede 2 more goals. The Ferdinand foul on Dinho was a terrible decision by a pretty poor referee, only equalled by the decision to send off Carrick at the end. Pato was very impressive, but still has a long way to go to be considered one of the Worlds best players, although he certainly seems to have the ability to get there.

    After half time we completely controlled the game, and i thought we would score every time we attacked. Milan looked as shell-shocked as we did in the first 10 and were very lucky not to be further behind by the time Sedoorf showed his class with a sublime finish.

    This was no where near as good a performace as the Inter game last year, but a result that is 100 times better - thats football. Some of the people on here?? They spend so much energy and time disliking United and really trying to come up with new ways of criticising them. Really it's quite obsessive behaviour and if only they devoted that energy to other more posititve thing in their lives they would be a lot happier.

    Seriously, why dont you just swallow your pride and admit how much you enjoy watching United, no one will think less of you, we understand....really, we feel the same!

  • Comment number 90.

    10. At 00:39am on 17 Feb 2010, NI_Football_Fan wrote:
    I am so sick and tired of the hysteria of man united fans. You can't see the wood for the trees. The result tonight merely papered over the major cracks waiting to be exposed by a better team than Milan in the next round blah blah blah blah blah.......................!!!!!!

    ...................................................

    Am sick and tired of this circus going about how we being told of each and every day how United are not playing ok but just won. We were away at the Sun Siro and Milan put up a Good start to their game. yes they would have probably buried United in the first 30minutes but they didnt take their chances. united rose to the occassion when it mattered most and controlled the game. but i bet you, theres only a few if any team that can come to Milan and get a result even in their current form.

    i would be the least surprised if United Actually played their third final in a row, the team is on another good run in the champoins league and apart from maybe, just maybe Messi & Co, i dont see any ANY team stopping them.

  • Comment number 91.

    Post 80 James..from your post I can tell you are the typical English fan who like workhorses and don't appreciate talent.. Ronaldinho tracked back on a couple of occassions when he had to but he is an attacker and had to support Huntelar. That was the tactics and that was why he had more influence on the game than any other Milan Player..was it a coincidence that he got a goal and an assist? I don't think so....I think you watch football with your volume up while listening to commentary by Andy Gray, he is the most horrible and biased commentator I have ever listen to in my life.. I heard when he said Ronaldinho's attituide was poor when his own team mate in Ambrosini took the ball of his foot while he was attacking..who wouldn't be frustrated when you have scored to put your team ahead..you are losing 2-1 and the last thing you want is your team mate dispossesing you while you are starting up an attack.

  • Comment number 92.

    Sorry I meant from the teams left in the competition, sorry for confusing you!

    ===


    Oh...ok...so even though they were a team that "gave barca a game" they don't count as they were knocked out?

  • Comment number 93.

    An enjoyable game last night and the result was similar to what I predicted, even if the game itself didn't pan out quite as I thought.

    Man U are the better team but can be careless.

    Anyway, an innocent question, but why is it that Rooney is being touted as the best in the world over, by way of a very good example, Drogba?

  • Comment number 94.

    BlessedReds 1.36am

    WHAT a good post..............

  • Comment number 95.

    It goes to show how poor the quality of football is at the moment that a past his best Ronaldinho looked far superior to any player on the pitch yesterday.

    The two headed goals Milan conceded were awful, very poor defending. This Milan team is the poorest I have ever seen.

    Huntelaar is pants as he was for Real, Pirlo is useless against physical teams and thiago can't defend.

    Ronny still has something to offer simply because his vastly superior technique, even though he has lost his pace and fitness in general. Pato looks lively but he doesn't have composure in front of goal, he is very young though. Bonera had a solid game aswell.

    Frankly, all the big teams are flattering to deceive at the moment. The world cup will be the best bet to see if there will be any exciting new talent to come.

  • Comment number 96.

    Stop the Blog. Man U won 3-2. The first Man U team to win at the San Siro. FACT

    All the players deserve 10.

    No point ranting and raving at the players negatives. They all played as a team.




  • Comment number 97.

    @78 "Ronnie tore you to shreds. And he's not even in the Brazil squad."

    I'm not sure I will ever come to terms with the shame of seeing Ronaldinho show touches of genius against my team. What ignomony! He's not even in the Brazil squad!

  • Comment number 98.

    As a complete neutral. I would have to say Milan will count themselves very unfortunate to have gotten beaten in this match. They had the majority of the best chances and due to a combination of good goal keeping and bad finishing they only managed to score two goals.
    On the discussion about Rooney, I would say actually he had a pretty quiet night. His first goal was excellent but my grandmother could have scored the second one. Rooney the best player in the world? He is very good at the moment but better than Messi, Kaka and Ronaldo?
    I really enjoyed the performance of Ronaldinho. It was a throw back to a few years ago when he was for sure the best in the world.

  • Comment number 99.

    93. At 09:59am on 17 Feb 2010, MrBlueBurns wrote:



    Anyway, an innocent question, but why is it that Rooney is being touted as the best in the world over, by way of a very good example, Drogba?

    -------------------------------------------------------------

    I would say consitancy, but Drogba still suffers from his propensity to act like hes taken a bullet when he gets a nudge sometimes, which detracts from his overall performances in some games.

    For my money, Drogba and Rooney are the two most in form attacking players around at this moment, although Ronaldo and Messi are overall not just better players, but on another level to the rest.

  • Comment number 100.

    United went there having lost the previous 4 times, failing to score and conceding 10.

    Based on that I think they did pretty well all in all.

 

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