Old hands at reacting to adversity, Manchester United FC once again showed their trademark spirit in Sunday's FA Community Shield win against Manchester City FC.
It was another quality synonymous with Sir Alex Ferguson's United teams which shone brightest, however, with the long-serving manager's latest crop of youngsters coming to the fore at Wembley. Two goals adrift at the interval, United put in a stirring second-half display inspired by the likes of Chris Smalling, Danny Welbeck, plus half-time substitutes Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones, to defeat their neighbours 3-2. Hardly a veteran himself, 24-year-old Nani hit the added-time winner with his second effort of the afternoon.
"Lots of players had really good games – especially the young players – which was good for the coming season," said United captain Nemanja Vidić. "To change the game and win 3-2 is a great performance. We just had to keep going [after half-time], keep the ball well and not give it away. It was the Community Shield but it's still a derby game and we wanted to win. [Nani] was one of the best players and his finishing was really sharp – I think there's more to come."
Welbeck, called up to the senior England squad for Wednesday's friendly against the Netherlands, was full of praise for the Premier League champions' defiance. "That's the history of Manchester United and today, again, we proved that," he said. "We went out there and attacked them a little more with purpose, so there are a lot of positives going forward."
Sir Alex admitted he "couldn't believe we were 2-0 down at half-time [as] we had controlled the game", a sentiment echoed by Smalling, scorer of United's first goal. "I think even in the first half we were the better team, but they were more clinical and finished their chances," he explained. "The manager just said at half-time to make sure we really got at them and pass the ball."
City captain Vincent Kompany, meanwhile, was keen to draw on the positives ahead the start of the Premier League next weekend and the club's UEFA Champions League bow next month. "It wasn't the best result for the team, but I don't think that we played to our potential today," said the Belgium centre-back. "We would've liked to win this game but maybe we can react well in defeat."
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