Premier League

Rooney hails Red Devils defence

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Sun, 07 Oct 2012 18:42:00

Wayne Rooney was eager to praise Manchester United's defence after they claimed an impressive 3-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.

The Red Devils have leaked goals at the start of the Premier League season, but picked up a much-needed clean sheet at the Sports Direct Arena.

Early headers from defenders Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra put the visitors in front before Tom Cleverley wrapped up the win with a fine curling cross-shot.

Rooney told Sky Sports 1: "It's a great result. Everyone knows this is probably one of the hardest games of the season. We came here, defended brilliantly. We fully deserved the victory.

"The first six games of the season we haven't defended well enough - not just the back four, the whole team, and today we were brilliant against a physical team."

Rooney himself is still to get his first goal of the season, but he claimed he was "not concerned" by the continuing wait.

Cleverley added: "Away from home, any clean sheet is massive. I thought the back four and goalkeeper were fantastic."

There was some doubt over whether the midfielder meant his excellent finish or if he had over-hit his attempt to pick out Robin van Persie at the far post.

Cleverley said: "I meant to put it in the far corner."

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson felt his side's display was their best of the season.

"It was a great result. To come here and win 3-0 against a very powerful and aggressive Newcastle you have to really perform," he said.

"In the second half against Tottenham (in a 3-2 defeat) we were terrific, but the first half spoiled the whole day, but today we were on top of our game.

"The concentration was terrific and the determination was there."

The visitors survived a scare at 2-0 when Demba Ba was denied first by the bar and then Papiss Cisse was thwarted by a fine recovery save from David De Gea, the Spaniard clawing the ball away seemingly just before it could cross the line.

Ferguson acknowledged his opposite number Alan Pardew could feel hard done by that a goal was not awarded, even though replays seemed to show the whole ball did not cross the line.

He said: "It's inconclusive. I would be disappointed if he didn't give the goal for ourselves, but the rule is the whole ball has to be over the line."

Pardew said: "Probably the turning point was whether the ball went in or not and probably from the replay it didn't.

"It's tight, looking at the angles I've looked at it looks like it hasn't gone all over the line."

Ferguson, who felt Cleverley's goal was an attempted cross, admitted the pressure had been on his team not to fall further behind leaders Chelsea.

"I think there was pressure. You don't want to fall behind too far," he said.

Pardew accepted his side were made to pay for their slow start.

"We conceded two from set-plays and you can't give teams like Manchester United a two-goal lead. But after that I was very proud of my team."

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