11:45 pm
24 October 2016

Rooney insists Man United will get better after narrow win

Wayne Rooney acknowledged Manchester United were ring-rusty in their opening Premier League win over Tottenham.

Kyle Walker’s first-half own goal separated the sides as United struggled for fluency in attack against Mauricio Pochettino’s bright Spurs, report the Manchester Evening News.

Rooney endured a forgettable afternoon up front but after United’s confidence was ‘smashed’ by Swansea in their domestic opener last season, the captain was relieved with the victory.

“We could have played better but after what happened last season, getting off to a bad start at home,” he told BT Sport.

Manchester United celebrate after Kyle Walker scored an own goal

“Today was all about the three points and we’ve done that. That’s all we could have asked for today.”

All five of United’s new signings made their debuts, with Bastian Schweinsteiger the only recent arrival not to start the narrow win.

United played just four pre-season games in the United States and, with more signings probable this window, Rooney feels Louis van Gaal’s new-look squad could take time to gel.

Tom Purslow/Man UtdWayne Rooney has a shot at goal

“We’re still working, of course,” he added.

“This pre-season’s been relatively short compared to previous ones, but we’ve worked hard and all that work went into getting the three points today, so we’ve done that.

“Now we have a couple of days to go back over the game and see what we’ve done good and what we’ve done bad, and then we can start preparing for Villa. So it was a big victory for us today.”

ActionKyle Walker and Sergio Romero compete for the ball
Clean sheet: Romero impressed on debut

Sergio Romero’s save from Christian Eriksen in the dying stages was decisive, however the broadcasters named Chris Smalling as man of the match.

Smalling did not start in any of United’s tour matches, however Van Gaal strongly suggested he would partner Daley Blind against Tottenham.

And, for the second time in six months, Smalling dominated the much-hyped Harry Kane in another performance that suggested he is developing into the centre half Sir Alex Ferguson envisaged he would.