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Man United strong spirit gives manager title hopes Moyes praises influence of Rooney

KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom, Dec 27, (AFP): Manchester United manager David Moyes believes that his side’s traditionally strong spirit means that they cannot be discounted from the Premier League title race. United battled back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Hull City on Thursday and record their third consecutive league victory. After an inconsistent start to the season, in which they suffered five league defeats, United have started to close in on the upper reaches of the table. “I don’t think there was anyone in the ground, when we went 2-0 down, who thought the game was over,” Moyes said. “I think most people were rubbing their hands thinking, ‘We’re in for some game here.’ “That tells you what Manchester United have got and, hopefully, tells you something about David Moyes. My teams have always been committed and trying to win the games.

“All the games at this time of year are tight games, difficult to call. All we can do is keep knocking away and hopefully we’ll be in there come the end of the season.” Striker Wayne Rooney scored his 150th Premier League goal for the club in the victory at Hull and also played a key role in United’s other two goals. He provided the cross for Chris Smalling’s 19th-minute header and put Hull defender James Chester under pressure before he headed into his own net to make it 3-2. Moyes praised the influence of the England striker, who played in a withdrawn role behind lone striker Danny Welbeck before dropping into midfield later in the game. “He played great because he had to do two or three different jobs,” Moyes said. “It was his 150th goal, so to score a nice volley, it was really well taken. “The pressure he put on the boy for the own goal was great. He got it wide and then got himself in the box.”

Hull had led 2-0 after 13 minutes thanks to Chester and David Meyler, before Smalling and Rooney struck to make it 2-2. The decisive blow came in the 66th minute when Chester headed Ashley Young’s cross into his own net. United hung on for the final minutes with 10 men after Antonio Valencia was sent off for a second yellow card in stoppage time. Chester almost atoned for his own goal with a chance in the dying seconds, but was denied by goalkeeper David de Gea. Hull manager Steve Bruce had sympathy for Chester, who spent 13 years as a trainee with United, the team he supported as a boy. “It could have been his day in many, many ways. He was at Man United since he was young and he’ll cherish playing against them and scoring after four minutes to give us a wonderful start,” said Bruce.

“He even had the best chance of the game late on as well. It’ll be one of those games he remembers for a long, long time. He’s a very good young player and he’ll get over it. “He’s like us all, we’re all disappointed. It’s one of those where you’re wondering what might have been. “It’s not often you get 2-0 up after 13 minutes against Manchester United and here we’ve been able to hang on to results.” Bruce is now charged with the task of lifting his squad for the rest of a busy fixture schedule. “You go home, kick the cat and have a glass of red (wine), do what you normally do,” said Bruce, himself a former United player. “We have to go again with this ridiculous schedule. It’s ridiculous when there’s so much at stake, but we’ll make sure we’re ready for Fulham. “The big question is whether we can respond. It’s a huge game for us. It’s all right getting plaudits against Manchester United. We have got to produce a performance against a team around us.”

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