After two matches they may have conceded as many as they have scored but
Saturday’s victory showed plenty of reasons why
For Sunday’s trip to Southampton, Ferguson will have Jonny Evans, who was on the bench after an ankle problem at the weekend, available to start alongside Nemanja Vidic and Phil Jones could also be in contention at St Mary’s after a back injury, excusing Michael Carrick further defensive duty.
On the evidence of the victory over
With Tom Cleverley and Anderson starting in central midfield, United scored 18 goals in their first four fixtures of last season and although they can be a little loose in terms of positioning at times, it is a partnership that oozes attacking potential.
Rafael also provides an exciting outlet from right-back but it is the
possibilities provided by Shinji Kagawa and Robin van Persie further forward
that will give United optimism that they will not have to see the
Van Persie has immediately adapted to his new surroundings and although he scored a wonderful goal and glided around with menace, he admits he is still short of fitness.
Kagawa impressed in a central three in the 1-0 defeat at Everton but, pushed further forward, the Japan international was even more potent and gave credence to Ferguson’s claim that the midfielder can provide a goal-scoring edge that has been absent from the central area since Paul Scholes was in his prime.
“He’s brilliant. He has settled in really well. He links defence with attack. He gets on the half turn and creates chances. I can’t speak highly enough of him,” Cleverley said. “I love playing with him – one and two touch, high-energy football. We’re on the same wavelength.”
Kagawa, who scored a tap-in to mark his home debut after joining from Dortmund for £17 million in the summer, has promised he will contribute even more if he is given the ball in the right areas.
“I want to improve parts of my game. I think the combination play with the other players will improve match by match,” he said.
“I want my team-mates to have the confidence to play it up to me when I‘m ahead of them. That is one of my strengths and style. I want to be on the ball more. I want to be busier.”
While Wayne Rooney’s omission from the starting line-up took much of the focus, it was also significant that Nani, who started at Goodison Park, was not even included in the squad.
United had an early scare when Damien Duff fired Fulham ahead after two minutes but Van Persie clipped in a lovely equaliser with his first shot since his £22 million move from Arsenal before Kagawa scored a second from a couple of yards and Rafael headed in a third.
David De Gea flapped at a Matthew Briggs cross leading to a Nemanja Vidic own goal and a tense finish but Ferguson will expect to see those errors eradicated once he has more defenders back.
Fulham manager Martin Jol will attempt to ease tensions with Clint Dempsey,
who is training on his own after the club reported