MANCHESTER // Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney felt his team provided the perfect response to what he described as a tough week by beating Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford.
Ryan Giggs assumed temporary control of United on Tuesday following the sacking of David Moyes, and gave the club’s board food for thought as he enjoyed a dream debut in the home dugout.
Rooney and Juan Mata each scored twice as the Welshman oversaw a comfortable victory, and Rooney is now hoping they can end the season on a high note.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game, Norwich are fighting for survival,” Rooney told Sky Sports 1. “But, thankfully, we got four goals and a comfortable win.
“We’re the ones on the pitch, we have to take a lot of responsibility [for Moyes leaving].
“We’ve had a tough week and there’s been a lot of negativity towards us as a team. We were hurt by that and we wanted to put that right. It’s important for us to end the season well.”
Rooney was also full of praise for Giggs’s impact on the team since taking charge, although stopped short of saying he should be the next United manager.
“Giggsy has come in, he’s a really experienced player and he’s built to be a manager,” he said. “We can see that as players, we can see how he’s handled himself since he took over. Giggsy has got all the credentials to be the next boss, but that decision is down to the board.”
Mata started the match on the bench but was delighted to be given his chance to make his mark in a much-improved second-half display.
“We scored four times and we didn’t concede a goal,” he said. “The first half was difficult but in the second half we showed what Manchester United can do at home.”
Giggs admitted he had thoroughly enjoyed his first match in charge, but claimed he had a sleepless night as he considered his team selection and which players would miss out.
“I didn’t sleep last night. Players on the bench, leaving the likes of Juan Mata out of the starting XI was a difficult decision and a position I’ve never been put in before. And it was really tough. I’m interim manager but I’m also one of their teammates, so it was tough to leave them out.
“But you’ve seen the response of Juan. That’s a true professional, to not moan and not sulk and come on and perform like he did.”
Giggs also insists he has given no thought to what the future holds and whether he will argue his case to be given the job on a full-time basis.
Regarding the rumours Louis Van Gaal is favourite to take charge next season, Giggs said: "The club has just said to me, 'You've got the job for four games' – that's one down and three to go. I'll do the job to the best of my ability and after that we'll see what happens."
Defeat leaves Norwich perched precariously above the bottom three, and manager Neil Adams knows his team let themselves down with their second-half display.
He said: “We did really well first half and then five minutes before the end they get the penalty and that changes the game.
“The second half wasn’t good enough. We had a go, we tried, but you go 2-0 down away from home like this – I just felt we needed to be better second half.
“We’ve got two games left now and need to take points from both games. We have to pick ourselves up.
“The overall performance today wasn’t good enough but we’re still above the line. What we can’t do now is beat ourselves up and think we’re in big trouble. Those two games we’ve got to believe in ourselves and give everything we’ve got.”