Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Over the two legs against the reigning European champions, David Moyes can hold his head high and say that he and his Manchester United team gave Bayern a fight and certainly gave a much better account of themselves than most critics, and fans, were expecting.
However, despite taking the lead with Patrice Evra’s dramatic strike and holding the German champions at bay for 59 minutes in the Allianz Arena, there was always a feeling that United’s star man Wayne Rooney was not 100 percent as he played through the pain barrier with a toe injury sustained in the first leg.
Rooney’s typical tenacious and busy instinct was clearly tempered by the injury, and he squandered two decent opportunities in the second half when he failed to adjust his feet quickly enough.
Rooney at 100 percent would have made more of the few opportunities that came his way, and Moyes showed a lack of appreciation for the gravity of the injury by asking the striker to drop deeper and play a more box-to-box role with the late introductions of Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj as the visitors chased the game.
Was it the reason United lost the tie? No, but there are few managers who would risk a player, even their best player, if they were not fully fit, especially in the backyard of the all-conquering German and European champions.
Moyes and the United fans will be happy that their troubled side didn’t suffer a 7-0 aggregate humiliation like Bayern inflicted on Barcelona in last year’s semi-finals, but they will probably wonder what might have been if they had 11 fully fit players on the field.