Wayne Rooney hailed a "perfect" away day for Manchester United FC after they secured qualification but Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Simon Rolfes endured a "bitter evening".
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It was no surprise that Manchester United FC's players were mightily pleased with their 5-0 demolition of Bayer 04 Leverkusen – a side, a couple of them noted, who had failed to beat only UEFA Champions League holders FC Bayern München at the BayArena this season. Nani spoke of "a complete performance", while man of the match Wayne Rooney described it as the "perfect away match". Leverkusen's players were downcast after their heavy defeat – but "we should go through with a win in San Sebastian", hoped Stefan Reinartz.
Nani, United winger
I think it was a complete performance. We started very well and we knew they would attack a lot at the beginning. They tried to attack and score early, but we did very well and defended very well. The entire team was compact. We then tried to exploit them on the counterattack and had opportunities. Then we scored and ended up scoring five. Five goals away from home against a German team – that is not easy!
Chris Smalling, United defender
I think this is as good as it gets away from home, especially given the fact only Bayern München have [not lost] here. I think we gave ourselves a good platform by how we defended. Our attacking players just ran at them and luckily we got the goals. Giggsy's ball to Nani was brilliant, he has really got an eye for that.
Wayne Rooney, United forward
I think it was a perfect away match tonight. We played very well, we defended well, there was some great counterattacking football, we played with power, pace and composure, so it was really as good an away performance as you can get. The first goal was obviously vital. We knew if we let Bayer get the first goal it would create a hostile atmosphere and lift them in a way. So we knew if we could get the first goal it would silence the fans. Then we had the ability to go on and end the game. I think we need one point to finish top of the group so it is vital we at least get that one point because it's important to finish top.
Jonny Evans, United defender
If the defenders score some goals, it takes the pressure off the forwards. I thought we controlled the game well tonight, we defended well. Our midfield was very compact and Leverkusen put a lot of people forward. Their full-backs play really high and once we got the ball we could break on them. [David Moyes] is very tactically aware, he is definitely improving the team in how he wants to play. Maybe it is taking a little bit more time than he would have liked. We have to get a good run together to prove to people we are going in the right direction.
Ryan Giggs, United midfielder
We just scored five goals away from home and that's special in any European game, so we are really pleased. It was an important game for us because we knew if we won we'd go through, but we didn't think we would put in a performance like this and score five goals.
Stefan Reinartz, Leverkusen midfielder
Unfortunately we allowed Manchester a bit too much tonight, they capitalised on that. I, for instance, made the mistake for the opener. We did not defend the set pieces well. Man United were very clinical and so the final result was very, very big. We now of course have to win our final match and hope that Shakhtar will not win against United – they are not that likely to do so. That is why I am remaining positive and thinking we should go through with a win in San Sebastian.
Ömer Toprak, Leverkusen defender
It is hard to find words for the disappointment after such a game. We had expected things to work out quite differently. Now we have a deciding match against [Real Sociedad de Fútbol] coming up. We won our home game against them and I believe we are capable of doing so in the return leg as well. We can still go through, even after such a poor game like tonight.
Simon Rolfes, Leverkusen midfielder
It was a very bitter evening for us. The second goal broke our back, despite us getting into the game quite well. After the third goal, the game was over. On matchday six we now have to show everyone we are capable of more than what we have shown today.