REPORTS & PREVIEWS

28/12/2013 16:57, Report by Steve Bartram
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The Match: Digging deep

After United's win at Norwich, ManUtd.com reviews the Carrow Road success in more detail...

The Match Lacking cohesion amid a considerable injury crisis, United were fortunate to reach the interval still on level terms. Norwich, despite a slow start, controlled the majority of the first period and would have led with calmer finishing from Wes Hoolahan. After the introduction of match-winner Danny Welbeck, however, the visitors' game developed the power and purpose it had been missing, and Norwich were firmly put in their place. While it was rarely pretty, winning at such an inhospitable venue without so many players - van Persie, Rooney, Jones, Valencia, Rafael, Nani and Fellaini were all unavailable - augurs well for the character within David Moyes' squad.
 
The Goal Having brought the hustle United had been missing, it was inevitable that Welbeck would make the difference as a result of his own industry. Having charged down Ryan Bennett's clearance, the striker raced onto the loose ball after it had rebounded off Chicharito, and he calmly circumnavigated John Ruddy before sliding a finish into the untended goal.
 
Star men The improvement in United's second half display stemmed largely from the introduction of Welbeck, who deserved his status as the match-winner after a 45-minute outing oozing pace and power. Up to that point, David De Gea had kept the Reds in contention as Norwich regularly created chances, while Chris Smalling provided an unyielding display at right-back to stifle the influence of Norwich winger Nathan Redmond.
 
Sub plots Welbeck's recent resurgence in front of goal suggests that his game is developing its one missing component. Last year's meagre return has long since been overhauled, and four goals in his last four Barclays Premier League outings have underlined the clinical streak he has developed. 
 
Opposition Norwich's transition from defence to attack and back again occurred at a troubling pace for United in the first period, and the hosts were left to rue missed

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