Sir Alex Ferguson is hopeful that Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney will prove to be a great partnership after they combined on their first start together for both Manchester United goals to beat CFR Cluj 2-1 in the Champions League.
United had fallen behind to a 14th-minute opener from Pantelis Kapetanos before Van Persie's equaliser looped off his shoulder from a Rooney free-kick just before the half-hour mark. The Dutchman's winner came four minutes into the second half when he deftly finished a clever Rooney ball over the top.
The pair had waited more than six weeks to be named in the same side due to Rooney's injury lay-off and match fitness concerns. Asked if they could be a great partnership in the making, Ferguson said: "It is difficult to say. I hope so. That was always going to be an issue. Everyone thought it was going to be a miracle combination.
"The best thing about them is they can both turn a game and that's an important feature of them both. It doesn't matter if they have a personal combination with each other, it's their ability to finish moves off whether it's from [Tom] Cleverley, Nani or [Antonio] Valencia. With the players we've got in the forward positions we've got a good bunch there. There are great combinations all over our side, the strength of our squad is in our attacking positions."
Of Van Persie's second he added: "The pass and the finish, both were equally as good. It was a fantastic finish but what a nice ball that Wayne has dropped in. I actually thought it was a bit too far but Robin did well to get on to it."
Van Persie also praised Rooney's contribution for the winner. "Everything starts with a good pass, so I have to thank Wayne for that. Not many players can make a pass like that. When it came to him I knew he could see that pass and give it the way I wanted it," he said. "I think it is the first time we have started together, we were both really pleased with that. We did it together tonight."
Asked if his second goal was the best of his nascent United career, Van Persie said: "Maybe, I have to look at it again. It felt good."
Rooney said: "It was a nice goal by Robin, a nice finish. But it was tough tonight, a tough pitch. We had to fully concentrate on our passing and our first touch but thankfully we managed to hold on and get the win."
The result was tempered by Jonny Evans having to be replaced late on. An ice pack was attached to the Irishman's leg due to a recurrence of the dead leg he suffered in the weekend's 3-2 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur. If Evans cannot recover for Sunday's trip to Newcastle United, then Ferguson will have only Rio Ferdinand of his recognised central defenders available.
Ferguson said of Evans: "He got injured on Saturday with a dead leg. He's got five days now to recover for Sunday and hopefully he'll be OK."
The manager was unhappy with how his side conceded the goal to Cluj. He told ITV at half-time: "We are doing most things correct in terms of passing but losing that goal the way we did is a shocker. An absolute shocker.
"In general I thought our possession of the ball was good and you have to be that way in Europe. When you give it away it's harder to get it back. But I was pleased with that part."