David Moyes Deserves Credit for Stoke Win After a Week Dominated by Sir Alex

Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentOctober 26, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  David Moyes the manager of Manchester United reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on October 26, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

The Premier League table will show Manchester United earned three points for their 3-2 win over Stoke City at Old Trafford.

But it felt like more than that.

After a week which had been dominated by the past and the memoirs of Sir Alex Ferguson, United showed that they retain the fighting spirit of their former manager.

Watching United this season has been like visiting an ill relative. They look like United and sound like United, but something hasn't been quite right.

There are still problems—United twice fell behind to Stoke—but that analysis is for another day.

This is about a tremendous comeback and David Moyes playing his part from the touchline.

Criticised for his substitutions in the draw with Southampton, he got his changes just right against Stoke.

Adnan Januzaj and Antonio Valencia at right-back were bright when they came on in the second half, while Javier Hernandez stepped off the bench to score the winner.

If Moyes was in any doubt about the importance of having the Mexican striker on his squad, he isn't any more.

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When Hernandez came on, Wayne Rooney dropped into midfield.

It was a source of strife between the England striker and Ferguson last season, but Rooney's willingness to take responsibility for driving his team forward helped United turn the game in the final 12 minutes.

Until Hernandez's winner, the biggest cheer of the day was given to Nani when he was replaced with Januzaj before the hour mark.

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The cheers turned to boos as Nani trudged off.

He had been poor, guilty of giving the ball away too many times and wasting chances to keep it moving by shooting aimlessly into the stands.

Still, the scattered boos felt harsh, and it soured an otherwise thrilling afternoon.

The comeback was one Fergie would have been proud of.

United fans are used to turning up at Old Trafford and watching their team knock on the door until eventually smashing it down.

It took a while, but in the second half, there were hints that they are getting that old swagger back.

It was fitting that after a week dominated by Fergie, United won a game in a fashion that he became famous for.

Late winners peppered his 26 years and gave him the greatest moment of his career in the Nou Camp.

This wasn't quite Barcelona in 1999, but given the relief felt at the final whistle, the games weren't too dissimilar.

It wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, but there was just enough to give the fans hope that after a difficult start to life post-Fergie, they might be getting their United back.