MANCHESTER UNITED 2
(Carrick 4, Rooney 50)
SHEFFIELD UNITED 0
United: Kuszczak; Fletcher, Brown, Heinze, Evra (Richardson, 21); Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs (Solskjaer, 80); Rooney, Smith.
Sheff Utd: Kenny; Geary, Morgan, Kilgallon, Kozluk (Armstrong, 77); Webber, Jagielka, Tonge, Montgomery; Shelton (Nade, 88), Kazim-Richards (Gillespie, 75).
With the likes of Edwin van der Sar and Rio Ferdinand already on the sidelines, and Darren Fletcher filling in at right-back, the injury-hit Reds were dealt a further blow when a wild challenge from Colin Kazim-Richards forced Patrice Evra off on 21 minutes.
By that point, however, United were already ahead thanks to Michael Carrick’s deft shot over Blades goalkeeper Paddy Kenny, his third goal in a week. Wayne Rooney doubled the advantage with an emphatic finish shortly after the half-time break.
The victory marked a much-needed return to winning ways in the league, after a shock away loss to Portsmouth 10 days earlier. And although second-placed Chelsea won 4-1 at West Ham on Wednesday to restore the three-point difference, Sir Alex was happy enough on Tuesday. “It’s good to have our lead back, with five games to go. The players have got the right temperament to cope with it. They just kept playing their football.”