May 24 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Be it the travelling Norwich City fans or centre-back Michael Turner, the pre-match chatter changed considerably once Saturday’s team-sheets were filed.
It had all been talk of Ryan Giggs’ 1,000th appearance for the Red Devils. Or the possibility Manchester United’s healthy lead at the Premier League summit would mean Tuesday’s vital Champions League return leg at home to Real Madrid offered the kind of distraction Norwich City could take advantage of.
Instead, Sir Alex Ferguson rolled out his big guns – and in the end, they were more than enough to topple Chris Hughton’s Canaries.
United still fear neighbours Manchester City in the title race, despite a lead that now stands at 15 points; either that or Ferguson fancies annihilating those noisy neighbours after having the temerity to take their crown last season.
Add to all that the fact United had their fingers burned at Carrow Road in November, and you start to wonder how City ever stood a chance in the first place.
That the game remained only 1-0 with 14 minutes remaining should have been noteworthy for City, but when United – and perhaps crucially Wayne Rooney – stepped up a gear, the hosts left Norwich behind.
“I suppose maybe late on the hard work caught up with us a little bit,” said Turner. “At 1-0 you always think you are still in with a chance of getting something from the game, but at 2-0 here at Old Trafford, realistically you are probably not going to get anything from the game.
“We kept going and we’re obviously disappointed that we gave two sloppy goals away right at the end, and 4-0 I think does not reflect our performance here. I think the scoreline was harsh.
“We were obviously still in the game at 1-0 and in the first half we limited them to only a few clear-cut chances, which we were pleased with.
“We were disappointed to go in 1-0 after all that good work we had done. That was a bit of a blow to us.
“But the second half we came out and performed a lot better. We gave it a good go and had a couple of half-chances ourselves, and then to see them score the second goal killed us off a little bit.”
Having been a fitness doubt leading up to the game, Robin van Persie’s performance will have at least blown away any unease ahead of Tuesday.
And with two assists and a lovely goal to round off the afternoon, Rooney is bang on form too.
“I think we gave Rooney too much space to get the shot off for number four,” said Turner. “Don’t get me wrong, it is a great finish. But if you give someone like that so much time close to our goal, it’s obviously not good enough from our point of view.
“We did not have a clue what their team was going to be and they have got a big game down here on Tuesday against Real Madrid, so we were second guessing who they were going to play and they have obviously gone really strong.
“I suppose that is a bit of respect to us, given they are at home this time and they were looking to get us back over what happened at Carrow Road.
“Rooney and Van Persie were difficult to handle in the first half. They linked up a couple of times and it felt a bit unstoppable. Both strikers are world-class players and it’s great to be out there playing against them. To keep them fairly quiet in the first half was pleasing – and going in 1-0 at half-time was disappointing.
“I suppose with where they are, it makes this one a little easier to shrug off. But we’re still disappointed.”