Michael Carrick hails patient Manchester United

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The Independent Football

Michael Carrick believes patience was a virtue once again for Manchester United last night.

The team who have made such an art form of scoring late goals down the years were forced to wait until the 86th minute for their winner at Rangers.

Wayne Rooney's penalty was enough to confirm United's place in the Champions League knockout stages and, barring a home reverse to Valencia in a fortnight, they will do so as top seeds, avoiding the likes of Barcelona in the last 16.

In an ideal world, the Red Devils would not have had to wait so long for Steven Naismith's ill-advised lunge on Fabio. But Carrick knows experience has taught United to remain calm if that early opportunity does not come.

"It was a job well done," said the England midfielder.

"We had a lot of possession, so we tried to be patient and hope it would open up for us.

"We have done it so many times in the past. We always believe we will get a chance.

"Thankfully we managed to get the penalty and that was enough."

Carrick and his team-mates will all hope the added spin-off will be a return to form for Rooney, who has appeared so ill at ease since he first suffered his ankle injury in March.

Although his timing still seems a bit awry, there were genuine signs of a return to the form that had established the 25-year-old as one of the best players in the world.

Certainly, when Swiss referee Massimo Busacca blew his whistle to signal Fabio had been fouled, there was no doubting who would take the kick.

"It was typical of Wayne to put himself up there to take the penalty," said Carrick. "It was a great finish to a good night."

Indeed, from a personal perspective, the only thing that would have made it better for Carrick was a goal himself.

But the 29-year-old spurned his second-half chance, meaning he has still not scored since his effort against Portsmouth on February 6.

"The goalkeeper made a decent save but it probably wasn't the best finish."

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