Tom Cleverley relieved after notching goal for Manchester United

 

Tom Cleverley has admitted his lack of goals for Manchester United was starting to get to him.

The 23-year-old managed to find the net during loan spells with Leicester, Watford and Wigan.

For Manchester United, though, he was just drawing a blank.

Even Sir Alex Ferguson felt compelled to give Cleverley a half-time dressing down at Old Trafford last night after the midfielder had somehow failed to convert a golden chance set up for him by Javier Hernandez.

The England man clearly took the hint.

Receiving Danny Welbeck's square ball on the edge of the area, Cleverley stroked a shot into the corner, which doubled United's lead in their Capital One Cup encounter with Newcastle, and allowed them to repel a late Magpies rally to secure a 2-1 win.

"It has been playing on my mind a little bit," said Cleverley.

"I have always scored goals when I have gone on loan, so it was bugging me that I had not been doing it for my club or my country.

"The gaffer gave me a bit at half-time for missing the one in the first-half, so it was nice to stroke that one in.

"We practice those sorts of finishes a lot so when the ball came to me I knew what I was going to do.

"I have got the first one out of the way now. Hopefully they will all come at once."

It was a well-timed goal too as England coach Gary Neville was in the stand, with Roy Hodgson a week away from announcing his England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

Wayne Rooney's return at Old Trafford means Cleverley has a major rival for the role he filled to such great effect in Moldova earlier this month, only to attract heaps of criticism for wasting more scoring opportunities against Ukraine at Wembley four days later.

Not that Cleverley regrets Rooney's recovery from a gashed thigh. Far from it.

Along with Darren Fletcher's first start in 10 months, he regards Rooney's involvement as one of the major bonuses to emerge from last night's game.

"It is fantastic to have them both back," he said.

"Darren Fletcher is a big game player and would bring positive things to any squad in the world. I am happy for him.

"Wayne came back and put in a good performance too, so we are getting stronger."

And for all the plaudits he received following after taking the latest significant step in an ongoing battle to overcome a chronic bowel condition, it seemed Fletcher was happier discussing Rooney's contribution too.

"It is the first time I have captained Manchester United," said Fletcher.

"It is something I dreamed about. But all these things, coming back, being captain are nice but the biggest thing was to win the match.

"But I thought Wayne was excellent floating behind the strikers.

"He was getting on the ball, pinging passes and using his experience.

"He is a fantastic player with great imagination."

Despite a hugely inexperienced defence, that boasted just two senior appearances between them prior to kick-off, United held Newcastle at bay in the frantic later stages.

Michael Keane and Marnick Vermijl both caught the eye, allowing Sir Alex Ferguson to keep Jonny Evans on the bench rather than risk injury to one of only two fit senior centre-halves at the club.

Reports of Antonio Valencia being set for another period on the sidelines remain unconfirmed.

However, it is clear Ferguson is more concerned about his defence, with just Evans and Rio Ferdinand fit after Nemanja Vidic was forced to undergo knee surgery that will keep him out for a couple of months.

"Everyone knows the situation with our defenders," said Ferguson, whose side entertain Tottenham on Saturday.

"We are having a hard time with that.

"Nemanja Vidic being out is a blow to us and we simply cannot take a risk with defenders.

"We just hope if we can get through the next two league games it will give us a little breather and we can start to get one or two of them back."

PA

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little