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Rooney Sure-footed as Reds Stumble

Two consecutive Premier League losses leave Reds looking to regroup on upcoming European trip; Rooney continues to find the net as he chases the top of the all-time goal scoring chart.

David Moyes expects a tough trip to the Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in their second Group A match of the 2013/2014 Champions League this week. After a troubling two weeks at home, the Reds new head coach is looking forward to the chance to build upon his team’s 4:2 win over Germany’s Bayer Leverkusen and put the two recent Premier League losses behind him.

With top goal scorer – Robin van Persie – sidelined with an injury, the Reds struggled to gain a foothold in their September 22nd derby match against Manchester City. Trailing 4:0 after 50 minutes of play, striker Wayne Rooney – by far the Reds’ best player on the pitch – curved a magnificent free kick into the net, putting his team on the scoreboard in the 87th minute.

Make it your turf
A week later United endured a shocker against West Bromwich, losing to a team they were favored to beat. Again Rooney was the Reds only goal scorer, increasing his all-time total to 202. And again, Moyer remained optimistic and forward-looking: “There are lots of games to come and it's about how you deal with them, so we look forward to them.”

A tough trip

Manchester United will make the long trip across Europe to face the Ukrainian champions on October 2. The team expects a strong opponent but wants to build on their impressive start in the Champions League. “I think we need to go there with a strong team. Going to Ukraine is tough because Donetsk have had a good record,” Moyers told reporters last week.

The boys from Old Trafford will have to demonstrate their strength in front of a 52,000-capacity crowd at Donbas Arena. The local champs take the field under the leadership of Mircea Lucescu, one of the most successful Romanian coaches of all time. It is the first time the Reds have ever faced “the Pitmen.”

All eyes on Rooney
As the team struggles, sure-footed Rooney has showed a steadiness that says loud and clear that the season is far from over. And his teammates are ready to fight alongside him. “We have lost three games but we have to focus in every game and we have to fight in every game to win,” said Dutch defender Alex Büttner.

Rooney’s march up the club’s all-time goal scoring chart is certainly turning heads and generating excitement. Even current record-holder Sir Bobby Charlton (249 total goals) is watching. “I’ve spoken to Wayne and I’ve told him he’s doing really, really well. Fantastically well,” he recently told United Review. He’s certain Rooney will eventually break his record. “It will be something else for the club to be proud of.”

Crucial Capital Cup win
In the middle of it all United reminded us – and a capacity crowd at Old Trafford – how champions respond to adversity, defeating rival Liverpool 1:0 in their opening match of this year’s Capital 1 Cup. An inspired squad put on a fine display in what was a lively, evenly-contested contest – and in the end celebrated a little revenge for their league defeat earlier in the month.

For more scores and highlights, check out United’s Fixtures & Results pageExternal Link / New Window

And keep up with DHL’s partnership with Manchester United on Twitter at twitterExternal Link / New Window

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