Former Red Devil Markus Neumayr believes victory over CSKA Moscow could prove to be vital if United are to progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Speaking after Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Old Trafford Markus said: “I saw most of the game and as expected it was a very tough challenge for United against a very solid defensive side.
“But they managed to grab the winner which is very important for the club even though football wise it was not one of their better performances.”
Last time Retro United spoke to Markus he said that his old club were still searching for their identity on the field, asked whether they have found it yet he says: “They are still searching for it, you can see this in Rooney, when he plays as a centre forward he is dropping very deep to get touches and to get involved in the game.
“On one hand this is a positive thing because you get the dominance in midfield but it can also mean that you lack players in the box to score goals and this is the main reason why United aren’t where they should be in the table.
“United aren’t conceding many goals at the moment which is good but if you can’t score at the other end you will draw a lot of games and this could cost you the title at the end of the season.”
Wayne Rooney has borne the brunt of the criticism for the team’s lack of goals and penetration in attack but Markus insists that it will only be a matter of time before the United captain is back to his best: “At the moment he is very unfortunate in his game, he works very hard for the team and wants to get involved in every single play but because of this he is lacking space and goalscoring opportunities.
“He needs to get into the box more even though this might mean that he is able to get on the ball less.”
Markus was at United between 2003 and 2006, captaining the club’s reserve team in this time as well as having his own memories of training and playing alongside Rooney: “He was always a very friendly and funny guy. In training he always worked hard and showed his qualities. Since then he has improved a lot and for me is one of the best players that England have ever had.”
Markus now plays for FC Vaduz in the top-flight in Switzerland: “In recent weeks we have managed to pick up a few points, last weekend we were very close to beating Basel but in the end were hard done by in a 2-1 home defeat.
“At the moment we lack efficiency in front of goal and need to make more of the chances we create but we have a good team spirit and will improve in that area I’m sure. Our target is to stay in the league and play attractive football.”