Rodgers: The Least He Could Do Is Shake My Hand!
On a fine evening in Manchester, tensions were already at knife point with Neil Lennon's outburst at Brendan Rodgers and his team. Rodgers had refused to comment pre match knowing that his team would do the talking on the pitch.
The starting line-up did not include Steven Naismith, but he had got onto the bench for the match and it also included transfer victim Wayne Rooney for a rare start. However he has not scored all season and with Van Persie and Welbeck giving United more in attack then Rooney so he should not be surprised that he is on the fringes at the moment.
The player to replace Naismith was £30m man Juan Mata, another player who has not really excelled yet this season and Tom Cleverly kept his place alongside the newly capped Frenchman Morgan Schneiderlin with Sandro taking up his normal role as defensive midfielder. Phil Jones also comes in for Johnny Evans.
Celtic named a unchanged team from the win against the mighty Dundee, which means that Charlie Mulgrew keeps his place despite being booked 3 times in 3 games for diving.
It was a very, very edgy start. Ambrose and Van Dijk got stuck in early and made sure Rooney was fouled. Wayne Rooney really did not like the early stages of the match but United gained control and Cleverly was controlling the midfield but then it happened. Forrest played through Charlie Mulgrew who went over from a challenge by the keeper De Gea and the referee blew the whistle and the Scottish team thought it was a penalty and then Mulgrew was booked for a forth
time in four games.
Lennon being held back in the Champions League match against United
Lennon though was going mad and actually pushed Brendan Rodgers away, then a big scuffle started with the backroom staff and the police came and split everyone up. The half time whistle went and Man Utd were bossing the game without scoring.
Wayne Rooney only lasted 9 minutes of the second half and was booed off. His sub though Van Persie has not moaned at being a rotation option with Danny Welbeck and really made a difference when coming on. Steven Naismith also came on for Mata, who was as equally disappointing.
Just 10 minutes after the triple substitution which also allowed Ryan Giggs to come and the 3 subs, along with the ever improving Tom Cleverly inspired one of the goals of the season and one of the best goals I had ever seen.
Naismith obviously started it by skinning Forest and Johansen to lay it into Giggs who with one swoop hit it to the left where cleverly volleyed a first time cross for Van persie to overhead kick it into the top left hand corner. Lennon was screaming for offside and Rodgers pretty much told him to fuck off!
Van Persie celebrates his wonder goal
United dominated afterwards and the final whistle was blown but Lennon refused the hand shake and instead stuck the v-sign up at the United fans. Rodgers then finally had his own say after the match.
I am absolutely thrilled with the performance
said a gleaming Rodgers. To play like we did was testament to the guys and the fans were wonderful. Neil's attitude stunk but then I expect nothing less from such an unprofessional manager! The goal was top drawer wasn't it! I will watch it again and again and again. This puts us in such a good position to qualify for the knockout stages now and I can not wait to tell the lads how proud I am.
We asked Lennon for a comment but he swore at us and stormed off!