MAN UTD 0, CHELSEA 0
David Moyes endured a frustrating first competitive match at Old Trafford as Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Chelsea.
Though Jose Mourinho will have gained most psychologically from the first clash of the campaign involving any of the Premier League heavyweights, United’s manager delivered an upbeat assessment of his side’s display.
Moyes pointed to the fact his side played with three forwards in an attempt to win, but admitted they lacked quality in the final third of the pitch.
“We lacked a good pass, top cross or individual moment of brilliance which in the past has won a game,” he explained.
That was shared by Mourinho who thought a draw was a fair result adding that both sides gave away possession far too easily.
He explained: “Nobody deserved to lose, but nobody was better than the other to gain victory and it was a fair point.
“It was the champions’ first game at home so it is fine point for us and a positive result.”
It was a match which failed to live up to the huge pre-match hype as neither side possessed a cutting edge in a game of precious few clear-cut chances.
And it was a case of defensive supremacy with captain Nemanja Vidic immense at the heart of United’s back line.
Moyes recalled Rooney to the starting line in place of Ryan Giggs, the one change from the side which kicked off their Premier League title defence at Swansea with an emphatic 4-1 victory.
It was a clear and unequivocal statement from United’s manager to Chelsea that Rooney, the subject of several bids from the Pensioners, is still a key figure in his plans.
Moyes was delighted with Rooney’s performance and also the reaction from the Old Trafford crowd.
He continued: “Wayne’s performance said enough and when he closed two or three players down in the corner, fans realised that.
“He wanted to score and his actions showed what he thought.”
Mourinho appeared to concede defeat in his bid to sign Rooney believing the support of the fans may sway him.
“Wayne played a fantastic match in difficult circumstances and I praise him,” he said.
Chelsea went with a surprise strikeforce of Andre Schurrie and Oscar as they had the likes of Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku waiting in reserve on the bench.
Brazilian Oscar had two strikes at goal in the opening quarter of the game, but one went straight to keeper David De Gea and the second flew well wide.
Inevitably it was Robin van Persie who had United’s first goal attempt in the 23rd minute as he brilliantly held off Branislav Ivanovic before his shot flashed into the side netting.
Rooney and Tom Cleverley had chances, but neither troubled keeper Petr Cech in an opening period which never looked like producing a goal.
There was a similar theme to the second half as Danny Welbeck spooned a shot over the crossbar when well placed while for Chelsea Gary Cahill’s 30-yard drive brought a decent diving save from De Gea.
Both sides had shouts for penalties, but more in hope and desperation as they looked to end the deadlock.
Rooney came within a whisker of ending the stalemate in the 77th minute when his long-range drive brought a smart save from Cech diving full length low to his right.
In the dying minutes United were denied another spot kick when replays showed van Persie’s shot struck the arm of substitute John Mikel Obi, but referee Martin Atkinson waved play on.