Wayne Rooney Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United
Manchester United forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates with teammate Wayne Rooney after scoring the winner in the Europa League, September 29, 2016Reuters

Well, you cannot say Wayne Rooney isn't effective. Pretty much his first touch of the game opened up an opportunity for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to score the only goal as Manchester United edged out Ukrainian side Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League on Thursday.

This was nothing like the fast, attacking Manchester United that tore the Premier League champions Leicester City apart last weekend; this was more like the one that has been criticised this season, a little ponderous, a little slow, with very little proper end product.

However, one goal was going to be enough against a Zorya Luhansk side with very little to show going forward, and that goal came via Ibrahimovic, who nodded the ball home in the 69th minute.

After some good work down the right, Timothy Fosu-Mensah found space to cross for Rooney. The Manchester United captain, again only coming on from the bench, completely mishit his strike, the ball looped up and Ibrahimovic climbed over the defenders to head the ball into the back of the net.

"We deserved to win but it was difficult," Mourinho said. "Wayne was laughing about the goal afterwards, he said he made a great assist, but he gave us what we needed at the time, a second presence in the box."

The how will matter little, because all that Jose Mourinho will be concerned about is the result – Manchester United beat Zorya Luhansk 1-0, with it notching their third straight win, following a run of three consecutive defeats.

This Manchester United side are still a work in progress, but three consecutive wins would have given the team confidence. While United next play Stoke City in the Premier League, it gets a lot more difficult after the international break. A derby game against Liverpool is followed by a difficult match against Fenerbahce in the Europa League, before United face off against Mourinho's former team Chelsea.

A much better performance than this will be needed in those matches, but for the here and now a win, any kind, will do.

Also read
Quick Links