After the frustrating weekend draw with Southampton, boss David Moyes made four changes to his team and demanded his players get the job done in Europe. They did just that, though nerves were jangling as the clock ran down with the Reds still only one goal to the good.
Wayne Rooney was the architect of the decisive goal in the second minute, cutting inside and wonderfully weaving past three defenders before curling a shot that bounced off the post, hit Martinez and went in. It was the quickest goal of the Champions League season so far.
Urged on by the noisy singing section being trialled at Old Trafford, United dominated the first half but were unable to add to the first goal and Antoine Griezmann came within a whisker of equalising when his free-kick struck the angle of post and bar.
The visitors had been quiet until that point but improved markedly after the break and Alberto de la Bella hit the woodwork from an acute angle. Yet the Reds continued to create chances: Phil Jones had a header saved, Antonio Valencia arrowed a shot against the base of the post, Shinji Kagawa’s goalbound effort was blocked and Rooney blazed over when well placed.
But unlike Saints on Saturday, Sociedad could not capitalise and United saw the game out to move closer to progressing from Group A, with seven points from three games.