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Nani fires United to top of their European Group

An uninspiring performance produced two absolute imperatives for Manchester United. The obvious first was to get all three points from the home game against Turkey champions Bursaspor but just as importantly, they had to show that they have the defensive ability to hold onto the lead given by Nani after just 7 minutes. That goal was also a timely reminder that the loss of any player can always be overcome. It was just over a year ago that Cristiano Ronaldo’s defection to Real Madrid was met with widespread claims that United will never be able to replace him yet Nani is fast proving that belief wrong just as somebody will do after Wayne Rooney departs – as he now looks certain to.

Manchester United  1 v Bursaspor  0

The Guardian – Manchester United supporters will not need reminding it was against Turkish opposition that an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney made his first-ever appearance in that famous red shirt, an elating hat-trick against Fenerbahce staking an authentic claim to be remembered as the most devastating debut Old Trafford has ever witnessed.

Everything felt so much more innocent back then; certainly compared to this latest victory, a dull and insipid game played out against a backdrop of widespread disenchantment and with the first signs of Rooney being demonised by a crowd whose love had previously seemed unconditional. Full Report

Manchester Evening News – Wayne Rooney was nowhere to be seen, but Manchester United moved clear at the top of Champions League Group C with an understated victory over Bursaspor. Portuguese winger Nani scored the winner after just seven minutes with a fine, curling left-footed shot. It looked as if United were going to run riot after the early strike but the Turkish visitors settled and the scoreline stayed at 1-0.

The build up to the game was overshadowed by a statement released by Rooney suggesting he will not sign a new contract because of a lack of ambition at the club. Ferguson was given a healthy cheer as he walked out for the game but the performance was somewhat flat after the early Nani strike. Full Report

Daily Mail – Manchester United began life without Wayne Rooney with a victory at Old Trafford. Their performance was nothing special once Nani had netted the sixth minute goal that earned United a Champions League win over Bursaspor. Neither did it do much to dispel Rooney’s claim his club now lack ambition, a view late chants of ‘we want the Glazers out’ showed there was some resonance with amongst the Old Trafford faithful.

But after a traumatic view days, in which United’s world has been turned upside down by their star striker, the result was all important. Sir Alex Ferguson knows far greater tests lie ahead for his players, who must now respond to Rooney’s thinly disguised claim they are substandard. Full Report

Manchester United – Kuszczak, Rafael, Vidic, Smalling, Evra, Carrick, Anderson (Hernandez 78), Fletcher, Park (Obertan 71), Macheda, Nani (7m)

Burpaspor – Ivankov, Erdogan, Stepanov (Ozturk HT),Wederson, Tandogan (Keceli 71), Ergic, Svensson, Insua, Ipek, Sen, Yildirim (Bahadir HT)

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