Manchester United 4 Norwich 0 match report: Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata get Ryan Giggs off to perfect start in the hot seat

United’s interim manager stamps his authority in the first game of the  post-Moyes era and sees his team cruise to an easy victory

Old Trafford

For more than a fleeting moment, a revised assessment of the David Moyes era seemed necessary. Manchester United were labouring badly when a plane bearing the banner 'Thank you Moyes' flew over the stadium and there was a hushed sense that perhaps the struggles of the last eight months were not all about him.

That was before Ryan Giggs delivered a half time team-talk which made this a very firm statement of his own intent to manage Manchester United now, not just when a Dutch football general has finished rebuilding it. Nothing terribly complicated. “I just said quicken up the tempo and it'll be ok,” Giggs reflected. But by early evening, he and Paul Scholes were taking it in turns to “give us a wave” and a momentum had been established which - if maintained for three more games - will make this a very difficult place for Louis van Gaal to arrive and assume control.

FOLLOW ALL TODAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE ACTION HERE

Not as difficult as the task facing Chris Adams, a point above third bottom Fulham with Chelsea and Arsenal to play. Norwich lost their grip on the match desperately and everything that might be said about this emphatic first Giggs foray in management should be qualified by a measure of how dreadfully Adams' players capitulated, after a promising 40 minutes.

 It was the less experienced of the two novices who revealed a teak toughness, though. “Did I sleep last night? 'No', in a word. Leaving out the players was the reason why I didn't sleep,” Giggs said, yet that didn't stop the decision to make six changes and leave out the two players - Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata - whom Moyes had bought. The future looks a bleak place for Fellaini but Mata's two goals - the first within three minutes of appearing - revealed much about the force of his own personality.

 

So implicit was the belief that what Giggs had described as “my philosophy” would be immediate that the chants of “attack, attack, attack” came from the Stretford End within a mere 15 seconds. But the question of how United might be shaken from their slough became complicated. There was no all-out attack. For Rooney, simply keeping his feet on an over-watered pitch looked like the greatest challenge, never mind the “shoot, tackle, play” mantra Giggs had imparted.

It was Norwich who seemed to have spoiled the picture inside 15 minutes when Jonny Howson swept home a half volley from inside the six-yard box, only to have his goal disallowed for  marginal push on Phil Jones by Ricky van Wolfswinkel as he nodded Robert Snodgrass' cross back into danger. It was also Norwich who defended valiantly - Michael Turner's dexterity in blocking off Shinji Kagawa one of many good moments.

The United dug-out was a study in concentration - Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes chewing incessantly while Giggs just stared - but their team's powers of attack paled by comparison with those Liverpool displayed, as they piled through the same opposition, seven days ago. Tom Cleverley was restored to the team but not to the prospect he once seemed to be, Shinji Kagawa flickered very intermittently and the overall impression of a first half which United just about emerged from with a lead was that Giggs can deliver no more than Moyes without pace and creative spark a his disposal.

Antonio Valencia did look reinvigorated, edging into the area and delivering the low, right-footed shot which brought one of many sharp stops from John Ruddy. But it took defensive incompetence to gift Giggs his first goal as manager. Phil Jones' low cross was missed by Turner and Russell Martin in turn. When Welbeck seized the gift Steven Whittaker pulled him by the sleeve in the six-yard box for a penalty which Rooney gratefully converted.  

It did not take long to discover the effects of the Giggs hairdryer, if that his is implement of choice. Rooney started the onslaught which would deliver three goals in 25 minutes - collecting the ball which Kagawa, pushing deep into Norwich territory, had delivered and striking it from just outside the area, slipping yet again as it went in off Ruddy's left hand post. A Welbeck half volley was clawed away by the goalkeeper and Nemanja Vidic's header flew just over the bar

The United substitutions - Kagawa and Cleverey departed - suggested those Giggs felt had not cut it. When another Rooney shot was parried away, and recycled from the byline for Phil Jones to cross, Mata was waiting to pounce for a United third. Norwich's defence had capitulated entirely when Valencia volleyed a shot into six-yard box which Mata placed a head on for four.

There was a brief incursion on United's goal before the end - Martin Olsson's deflected shot clipping the top of the bar but the sight of Javier Hernandez chasing free onto Mata's pass in the final minute - somehow shooting wide with the goal at his mercy - told that something dangerous might be forming. There would be no day's rest on Sunday, Giggs declared before leaving the stadium. He is taking his chance while he has it.

Line-ups:

Manchester United (4-4-2 ): De Gea; Jones, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley (Hernandez, 71 ), Kagawa (Young, 65); Welbeck (Mata, 60), Rooney.

Norwich (4-5-1): Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson; Johnson, Fer (Tettey, 80), Howson; Snodgrass, Redmond (Hooper, 69); Van Wolfswinkel (Elmander, 57).

Referee: Lee Probert.

Man of the match: Rooney (Manchester Utd).

Match rating: 7/10.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
people
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea