NORWICH CITY 0, MANCHESTER UNITED 1
Danny Welbeck may have scored the goal which kept Manchester United’s quiet run of form going but his manager, David Moyes, has insisted the England international can do even better after scoring his fourth goal in the last five games for United.
“Danny didn’t score very often last season but he looks like he will do it every time now. We didn’t create many chances but Danny changed the game when he came on.
“Danny’s a big part of Manchester United; a really, really good player, but he needs to become a really, really good finisher. I thought he did great today.”
Moyes also sounded a warning to the rest of the Premier League, saying:
“I think Manchester United are used to the pressure and we’ll win games in the second half of the season.”
A second half strike from substitute Danny Welbeck sealed a sixth successive victory for Manchester United – their fourth straight win in the Barclays Premier League – as they quietly gained momentum for what will surely be a traditional New Year title tilt.
United are just seven points off the summit of the league, just two points outside the top four, and remain firmly in the title race and coming up on the outside after being a massive 13 points adrift at one point this season.
Without Robin Van Persie or Wayne Rooney, who wasn’t risked with a slight groin injury, United endured a poor first half in which they failed to capitalise on their dominance despite a much changed side. United fielded Nemanja Vidic at centre back with Chris Smalling moving to right back in place of the injured Rafael. The defensive rejig certainly helped United keep Norwich at bay although their hosts could have done better with the opportunities presented to them.
With Antonio Valencia suspended, David Moyes opted to use Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Ashley Young and Shinji Kagawa in midfield with Javier Hernandez up front but they got very little change out of the Norwich defence despite dominating the first half. They may have ceded possession to the Red Devils but Norwich had the clearer chances but will regret not taking any of them. Russell Martin, Wes Hoolahan and Gary Hooper will regret not making more of their efforts when they look back at this game.
Welbeck grabbed his chance after coming on at half time for Giggs and punished Norwich for their lack of penetration although they had to capitalise on an unfortunate series of deflections which landed the ball at Welbeck’s feet for the chance he buried.
Ashley Young had earlier sent a warning shot over the bar before Ryan Bennett’s 57th minute clearance was closed down by Welbeck and hit Hernandez before returning to the United substitute who grabbed the chance on offer after rounding John Ruddy in the Canaries’ goal.
There was to be no repeat of last season’s shock 1-0 win for Norwich as United comfortably defended their lead despite a late penalty shout for Hoolahan being turned down.