'Dinosaur' Scholes gives United old edge in experience

Manchester United 3-0 Bolton

Old Trafford

The talk was all of Paul Scholes but perhaps more significant for the longer term was a banner with a picture of Manchester United's other late thirty-something, Ryan Giggs, emblazoned upon it. "He's won it 12 times," ran the slogan: "Twelve more than Gerrard."

And 12 more than most members of the two sides with whom United are wrestling for the title.

Tottenham have a couple of players who know what it takes to win the Premier League and Manchester City have four – but since three of them are Wayne Bridge, Owen Hargreaves and Carlos Tevez, only Kolo Touré really counts. His brother, Yaya, may have won La Liga with Barcelona but there is a subtle difference, the same that lies between the Open and the Masters.

It is this vast reservoir of experience upon which Manchester United will draw in the coming months. It is the one, and perhaps only, clear advantage they possess.

Scholes may not score in another game – and he was not prolific before retiring for the first time – but his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, argued that his mere presence was a source of reassurance to a team that seemed to be limping into the new year.

"He does not make a lot of noise but you can feel his presence," said Anders Lindegaard, the United goalkeeper, whose only major trophy so far has been the Norwegian FA Cup three years ago.

"The way he does things is something to live up to – that is how you are supposed to be. That experience gives you something to look at. I have never been in a lot of the situations we are in now.

"People forget how inexperienced I am in this game. When times are tough or if they are good, you look at Scholesy and see how he handles it."

The first half against Manchester City in the FA Cup and this brusque dismissal of Bolton suggests that the old adage that Manchester United grow in power as the season wears on still holds true. However, it may require them to be knocked out of the Europa League at the earliest available opportunity to avoid the draining routine of Thursday-Sunday football.

This hopelessly unequal Lancashire derby kicked off at three o'clock on a Saturday and the only question was whether a heroic performance from Adam Bogdan would earn Bolton a point. The answer by 3.45pm was no. Bogdan may have saved a penalty from Wayne Rooney but Bolton's goalkeeper said he always felt that if Manchester United kept creating chances they would, inevitably, break through and so it proved.

Patrice Evra may have commented that it was nice to see "a dinosaur score" but the decisive contribution came not from Gingersaurus but from Antonio Valencia who, Evra remarked, will have left Bolton's left-back, Sam Ricketts, in need of muscle treatment after the final whistle.

"We still have some injuries," Evra said. "But I think when everyone is back fit, it will give us the strength to win the title.

"People like to talk a lot about Manchester City but we just need to be focused on what we do and how we play and I think we are going to win the league.

"This was an important game after the FA Cup win against City to show we are really confident and that we are back."

Nevertheless, beating Bolton is one thing, overcoming Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday, when the presence of Scholes and Thierry Henry will make it seem like a scene from Field of Dreams, is quite another.

Booking: Bolton, Knight

Man of the match: Valencia

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire)

Att 75,444

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders