It may not have been pretty but the key thing for Manchester United FC, according to Wayne Rooney, was that they got "back to winning ways" in Tuesday's narrow victory over FC Shakhtar Donetsk.
United captain on the night, Rooney added that it was now vital for the English champions to "get that consistency" that has eluded them so far in a campaign where they have topped Group A – winning all three home games for the first time since 2007/08 – yet faltered in the Premier League. It was a call echoed by goalscorer Phil Jones, who admitted United's recent anxiety showed in their shaky first-half display.
Wayne Rooney, United forward
The most important thing was to get back to winning ways and top the group so we've done that. It could have been better at times but thankfully we got the win. [It was] win at all costs – after the last two games we knew tonight was vital. We got a good result, and if you'd have said beforehand that we'd win the game after the last two results, we'd have certainly taken that.
The campaign has been good this year in Europe so we just have to try and get that consistency in all our games, whether it is Europe or the Premier League. Hopefully we can do that in the upcoming games and get back in a good position.
Phil Jones, United midfielder
It was massive [to win]. We needed to put on a performance and ultimately win the game, and we have done. It probably wasn't the most exciting game you'll ever watch but at the end of the day we've topped the group and thoroughly deserved to. I think we've been excellent in the Champions League. Tonight, it was all about winning.
We showed a bit more belief tonight, and belief in our game and passing and closing down. [The crowd] were edgy and we were a bit anxious in the first 30 minutes ourselves, and came in at half-time and the gaffer told us to pass the ball better. We did that and created more chances.
The manager puts the team out, but we've got to go out and deliver for him and the last couple of games we've probably not done that. Hopefully, we can go on a decent run now.
[On his goal] It was a nice strike – it just dropped kindly for me and thankfully it nestled in the back of the net.
Tom Cleverley, United midfielder
The whole purpose of the night was to get the three points and in the second half we turned it up and gave a good account of ourselves. Coming top of the group is massive and we managed to do that, so credit to the lads. I felt we were putting pressure on at the time [of the goal] and it was coming. In the last two or three games we only know how important the first goal is and even more important in European football. We did well to get that.
Douglas Costa, Shakhtar midfielder
We didn't expect the night to end like this, but it's a lesson for us. We are learning, and now we have to turn the page and try again next season. Our failure to take our chances [in the first half] had a real impact on the game, because we could have scored those goals. But we lost – that's football. Now the Europa League: I think we've played in it once and won it [in 2009]. We will try to do that again. For us, and any other team, the Europa League is also important.
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