Etihad Stadium

Next Game

Man City v Man Utd

Sunday, 02 November 2014, 13:30

Barclays Prem

Old Trafford

Last Game

Man Utd 1 - 1 Chelsea

Sunday, 26 October 2014, 16:00

Barclays Prem

United's identity

David Moyes' Man United demonstrated reasons for optimism against Sociedad, says Matt Stanger.

Last Updated: 23/10/13 at 22:54

David Moyes: Showed plenty of intent after criticism of his caution against Sout

David Moyes: Showed plenty of intent after criticism of his caution against Sout

"One of the things we will be looking to try and do is finish matches off. We have had some opportunities, but I have been saying that near enough from the start. We have had quite a few chances and not taken them. Whilst it is like that you are at risk."

For Saturday against Southampton, read Wednesday at home to Real Sociedad, as Manchester United secured a narrow 1-0 win at Old Trafford to provide brief respite to David Moyes. The champions arguably deserved more from a bright attacking performance that yielded 18 attempts at goal, but their lack of killer instinct remains a concern for the new manager.

Following criticism of his cautious approach against Southampton, Moyes showed plenty of intent with his starting line-up against Sociedad in the UEFA Champions League despite Robin van Persie missing out with a toe injury. With Danny Welbeck also absent, the manager opted to replace the duo with Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa, and United responded with a blistering start that saw them take the lead after only two minutes through Inigo Martinez's own goal.

Although Wayne Rooney's performance behind Hernandez was pivotal, Ryan Giggs' contribution alongside Michael Carrick in central midfield was also crucial, as he looked to play the ball forward at speed to find Rooney and Kagawa. It seems that every time Giggs is written off - as he was following a final 20 minutes on Saturday that coincided with Southampton's equaliser - he bounces back to prove his doubters wrong, with Wednesday offering another example of his longevity.

Manchester United celebrate following Inigo Martinez's early own goal at Old Trafford

It was encouraging to see United move the ball quickly and with purpose in the final third, but it was only in the second half that they really began to carve Real Sociedad open as the match opened up. The visitors' onslaught immediately after the interval - in which they struck five shots in a frantic seven minutes - may have left Moyes thinking about making conservative changes, but on this occasion he resisted the urge.

It was certainly the right decision, with United gradually re-asserting their authority and Real Sociedad shrinking back into their shell to muster just two further attempts before the final whistle. The old confidence gradually began to ripple through United, with Jonny Evans and Phil Jones giving commanding performances, Giggs and Carrick demonstrating their experience and Valencia reminding everyone that Rooney is not the only improver in Moyes' first XI this season.

Perhaps Moyes could have replaced the ineffective Hernandez at an earlier stage to allow Kagawa more time in his favoured central role, but it was at least pleasing to see the playmaker enjoy his first 90 minutes of the season and only his seventh since joining United in 2012.

The lack of killer instinct is still a concern, however, with only five of United's 18 attempts hitting the target and Hernandez failing to have a single shot in his 80 minutes on the pitch. That worry is likely to be remedied by Van Persie's return, as Moyes searches for more little victories to prove that he can instil the desired mentality in a team famed for its ruthlessness.

A version of this article first appeared on Football365

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

H

e might be on a hiding to nothing, but I cannae feel any sympathy- You want to know why? Shakira. That's why.

hairpolice
Pique Taking Blame Burden Again...

A

nd this season must feel like one long sigh at the Emirates . Yep, exactly that. Except for Alexis Sanchez, he's ace.

cheshire-gooner
Is Mario Balotelli's Talent Even That 'Obvious'?

H

ey! At least put our first clean sheet in a gazillion years in the winners section. Curse you F365 *shakes fist*

fouloleron
Is Mario Balotelli's Talent Even That 'Obvious'?

Footer 365

Real Madrid and Spain legend Raul joins New York Cosmos

Real Madrid legend Raul has agreed a deal with North American Soccer League side New York Cosmos.

Transfer News: Hull's Tom Ince joins Nottingham Forest on loan until December 28

Nottingham Forest have signed Tom Ince on loan from Hull City on a deal until December 28.

Blackpool confirm appointment of Lee Clark as manager on rolling contract

Lee Clark has been confirmed as the new manager of Championship club Blackpool on a one-year rolling contract.

Mail Box

'Pride' Didn't Stop Wenger Signing Flamini

Arsene Wenger's 'pride' in signings is quite rightly pulled apart. We also have a stupidly long email on going back, and one Mailboxer whooping about the FA Cup first round...

Wenger Kept His Pride By Turning Down Cesc

What message would it have sent if Wenger had allowed those that walked out to stroll back in? Plus, why Pochettino needs to adapt and the folly of limiting yourself...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property