Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has praised the Rd Devils defence for managing to keep clean sheets this season with another on Tuesday night helping them overcome CSKA Moscow.
United were in need of three points in their fourth Champions League group game and they came away with the win courtesy of a header from captain Wayne Rooney.
It was a much needed win and also a confidence boost for a side who had struggled to score of late. Manchester United are normally known for scoring plenty of goals but they have not done so recently with Rooney and Anthony Martial both struggling to find the back of the net. However, the win at Old Trafford has settled some nerves and they will now look to kick on with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
But despite the lack of goals, in defence United have been solid throughout the whole season. Chris Smalling has been in the form of his life while Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Matteo Darmian have also made strong starts. And Herrera, who is currently playing the number 10 role for United, admitted that the defence has made the whole side positive and it’s important.
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"“It’s a positive that we’re not conceding goals,” Herrera told manutd.com.“We saw it last year with Chelsea; I don’t think they scored too many goals, but they didn’t concede many either. That’s important when you want to have a great season, you can’t give away many chances.“I think we controlled the game against Moscow. We only conceded one chance, which was good. We also created 10 or 12 chances, which was also good – we want to control games and did that today.”"
United’s season so far has been very up and down in terms of performances but the results have been there with the Premier League leaders still in touching distance.
Rooney has been one of the players under fire from the fans but on Tuesday his goal was a relief for all in the stadium. The 30 year-old superbly netted his header in the 80th minute to send United top of their Champions League group and Herrera was also delighted.
The Spaniard is a big fan of the club and admitted that it was good for all associated with the club that Rooney scored.
Van Gaal had also defended the England striker in recent weeks and that was echoed by Herrera, who added that his goals are just one part of his whole game.
"“Of course there was relief, but Wayne is one of our most important players. He’s our leader, our captain, and we’re happy when he scores. When he doesn’t score, he fights for the team and that helps a lot as well,” he said.“He’s very important, and I think he has a very strong mind. When he doesn’t score, he keeps fighting in the same way, and that’s important for us. I always say the same: he’s one of the best players in the world, one of the stars, and he’s not selfish. For us, it’s very important when he feels good. When he scores, of course it’s better for everyone, but if not he still fights.“I can only say what I see, and what I see is that he gives everything. We say the same thing every day: he does a lot of things for the club and the team. Of course he’s one of the best in the world, his trajectory is unbelievable. The way he fights, the way he trains and the way he gives his opinion to the other players. Maybe those on the outside only see what’s on the pitch, but he’s also very important off it.”"
Herrera also had a kind word for the fans after the game, saying;
"“They show me their support every day, I am very thankful. They give me the strength to keep fighting and playing as well as possible. I want to give everything for this club.”"
The return of Memphis Depay was also a plus for United after the Dutchman had missed the last few games with injury while Jesse Lingard was rewarded with the Man of the Match. United are currently in fourth position in the League with a four point gap separating them from high flying Manchester City.