Manchester United produced a memorable European performance at the Old Trafford to turn around a two-goal deficit from the first leg against Olympiakos.
The last time Manchester United achieve something similar to this was back in the 1984 when they defeated Barcelona 3-0 in the second leg – after suffering a 2-0 loss at Camp Nou. This was undoubtedly one of their best performances this season and something that the fans deserved after they showed endearing support for the club this weekend, despite Liverpool’s emphatic win at Old Trafford. David Moyes did dedicate this win to the ‘crowd’ and hoped that they can deliver similar performances more regularly for them.
Manchester United needed a quick start in this game and Robin van Persie provided that after he converted a penalty in the 25th minute of the game. The spot-kick was won by the Dutch international as he went down in the box under a challenge from Jose Holebas. Olympiakos looked dangerous in attack as well and Hernan Perez missed a glorious opportunity in the first half, and later in the second half as well, to score that crucial away goal. David De Gea made some wonderful saves to keep United in the match and they levelled the score on aggregate just before the halftime as van Persie scored another after being set-up by Wayne Rooney.
That late goal in the first half provided United with a massive boost in confidence and they completed the comeback in this tie as the former Arsenal striker completed his first Champions League hat-trick in the 51st minute of the game. Van Persie scored from a free-kick, which somehow flatfooted Roberto in Olympiakos goal and it provided them with the lead in the tie. But one away goal was still enough for the away side to go through and they pushed hard for that later in the second half.
Olympiakos failed to break down the United defence and Manchester United progressed through to the next round. David Moyes was delighted with the win and the performance of his players. He was pleased about the fact that they were able to bounce back quickly from the Liverpool defeat and provided the fans with something to cheer.
“The way the players responded after Sunday’s defeat (was most pleasing).
“I did say to them on Monday morning that we’d have to win 3-0 and give the crowd something back. The crowds have been incredible. They deserved it. They deserved a good night because we’ve not given them many good nights this season.
“We looked to get behind them. The players were incredibly committed. They are hurting as well, they know we are not doing as well as we should be doing.
“We didn’t play well in Olympiakos. Tonight they put it right – they deserved it. The players gave everything and never left anything behind.” – The Manchester United manager said.
Moyes also went on to deny that his job at the club was under threat if they failed to deliver against Olympiakos and insisted that he had the full back of people inside the club.
“I don’t think so. People will probably think its a turning point in people’s careers. I didn’t see it that way because I know what the club have got here and the club know what they’ve got here.
“I see myself here for a long time but I’ve got a big job and there are a lot of things I’ve got to do and I’m not going to be able to do it all immediately. The one thing they did show was a great, big heart.
“I’m not feeling any pressure from inside the club. It’s all coming from you people. Everybody is fine, we know the job I have to do. It’s a big job, probably bigger than we all expected when I first came in.
“The players have been great. I keep hearing that this one has fallen out, or someone else has fallen out. I keep telling people it is rubbish and it is rubbish.
“People are looking for reasons we’ve not done well. The reason we’ve not done well is we’ve not played well enough in games and that’s the truth behind it all.” – Moyes added.
When asked about whether he thinks this win can turn around their season and propel them to a better finish, Moyes replied:
“That question has been asked of me every time we have a good victory and we’ve never backed it up.
“I’d love to say ‘yes’ and that’s the answer, but I think we know we’ve got a lot of work to do here.
“We’ve had a great result tonight and we’re going to try and keep going in the competition. We know it is going to be a struggle. We’re looking forward to whoever we get in the draw.”