Opening goal was crucial, says Laudrup

11th January

Michael Laudrup believes Manchester United's early second-half opening goal was the pivotal moment in his side's 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford.

The home side managed to inflict revenge on the Swans for their 2-1 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Laudrup's side, just six days ago, courtesy of goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck.

But like last Sunday, the Swans went toe-to-toe with United from the off and, despite losing Jose Canas to injury early on, looked more than a match for their opponents during the first-half.

However, two minutes into the second period, Valencia gave the home side the lead when he pounced on Shinji Kagawa's parried header and hammered home from close range.

And in the 56th minute, Danny Welbeck doubled United's advantage when he turned in Patrice Evra's strike from range.

The English striker managed to get the deftest of touches on to Evra's strike, which was enough to beat Gerhard Tremmel at his far post.

Overall, much like the last encounter between the two sides, it was a tightly fought contest, which Laudrup felt was decided by United's "crucial" opening goal.

"I think the difference was the first goal," said the Swans boss. "It was a tight game, more or less the same as the other day. The difference being we didn't score and they scored that goal.

"I expected a Man United team to be very focused for this game after everything that has been said over the last few days.

"I think we all expected Man United to come out from the first moment to get on top of the game, but I don't think that happened.

"I think we coped very well in the first half. They only had one big chance with Welbeck when we lost the ball going forward.

"But what really hurt was when we conceded a goal after just 90 seconds in the second-half.

"It's always disappointing to concede, but after how we played during the first-half, we knew the first 15 minutes of the second would be important.

"For United, it was crucial for them to get the first goal, and scoring that goal after just two minutes gave them a confidence boost, which made it more difficult for us.

"The first goal at this level is so important. We saw it the other day, we have seen it in other games, and we saw it again today.

"Players like Welbeck, Valencia, Januzaj and Kagawa are very good players and they then caused problems for us.

"Maybe we should have made a little more runs behind their back four, and threatened them a bit more, but I still think the likes of Routledge, Shelvey and Pozuelo did a lot."

Meanwhile, Manchester United boss David Moyes was delighted to get back to winning ways after a difficult period for his side.

"I thought from the start of the second-half we played really well and deservedly scored the two goals," said Moyes.

"I thought today was more like it. I can't remember Swansea having an attempt at goal, and I felt as if we had most of the control of the game."