Date: 30th July 2009 at 10:17pm
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We have lost the Audi Cup final to Bayern Munich – but the display was encouraging. It was actually better than yesterday’s showing against Boca Juniors.

For a start, it’s painful to see Giggs and Scholes in these games. On the occasions they still manage to keep up with the pace of the game they keep reminding us that they know more of the beautiful game than most players in the squad… None of our midfielders has the sublime intelligence and incisive passing of Scholes, and neither of his colleagues boast the skill and technique of Ryan Giggs. They are tremendous players who are in serious decline and we haven’t really replaced them yet…

But today both were impressive and it’s really not Scholes’ fault that Owen failed to convert his delightful little pass in the second half. Giggs was less creative but always assured in possession and ensured we gave the ball away much less frequently than we did yesterday. The presence and confidence of Dimitar Berbatov helped on that front. The Bulgarian was unlucky not to score in the first half: his fine scissor kick hit the post.

Defensively we were solid even though Darren Fletcher had to play right-back but the back four hold firm even when Bayern were in the ascendancy in the first half. However, United held them at bay and soon took control and the second half was totally ours, especially after Bayern made some changes and introduced unknown youngsters. We couldn’t score though; Owen and substitute Rooney missed sitters and unsurprisingly, we were not great on the flanks: Nani was frustrating again while Gibson is still not a wide man.

But all in all it was encouraging. I don’t know whose idea it was to have Evra take a penalty but it wasn’t a good one and I was certain Jonny Evans would miss. It doesn’t really matter: Bayern can have their trophy while we can draw optimism from what we’ve seen on the pitch from our team. There’s one danger though: that we’ll become a solid, good team, capable of controlling games against most sides yet don’t score enough because of the sluggishness in attack. The movement, the thinking must become quicker and the passing more accurate if we are to succeed this season.