Not picking up three points at St James’ Park last night would have seen United get the press on their back. With the games in hand we have, as well as the self-belief our players have, drawing or even losing at Newcastle wouldn’t have been the end of the World. To the press though, it could have been the beginning of the end, with the pressure piling on us.
It was therefore really important that we got the points, however we went about it. Maybe too much champagne on Sunday slowed us down, but it took us until Wayne Rooney’s goal in the 20th minute for us to wake up, conceding an early goal which ended Van der Sar’s record.
The performance wasn’t anything to write home about and our second goal was a gift, but I’m not too concerned. It’s the points that matter and with the week we have ahead, they were vital.
“It doesn’t really matter what position they’re in, when United come and play the fans and players all get up for the game,” said Rooney. “We expect that so we should have been able to cope with it and had a better start. After a bit of a dodgy start we managed to get some football going and thankfully got the goals, big goals for us, that gave us the three points. We’re in a good position at the minute, we just have to keep playing our football, stay focused from now until the end of the season and hopefully we’ll be OK.”
With a vital week ahead, Rooney is relishing his timely return to fitness after a hamstring injury and, more recently, a virus kept him sidelined.
“It’s a massive week for us,” he added. “We’ve got the FA Cup Saturday, UEFA Champions League Wednesday and Liverpool Saturday, so it’s a massive week for us. We have to make sure we prepare right for these games and hopefully we’ll do OK.”