United don't need to play well but Rooney & RvP do - Souness

Rooney V Cardiff

Manchester United do not need the game of their lives to progress in the Champions League, writes renowned commentator.

Manchester United strike duo Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney may be all smiles in training but in order to ensure their fans leave Old Trafford later this evening with a similar expression the talented individuals will need to combine efficiently in order to secure Manchester United's progression into the quarter-final stages at their visitors, Olympiacos, expense.

Trailing 2-0 due to falling behind in Greece last month, David Moyes must overcome one of the biggest challenges in his managerial career - motivating his senior roster sufficiently despite a humiliating 3-0 defeat to regional rivals Liverpool last weekend.

United were dominated against Brendan Rodgers' men, yet Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool star Graeme Souness does not believe all 11 Red Devils need a U-turn in form but, rather, just bank on a stand-out performance from one of their forwards.

"Manchester United don't have to play well to get through this tie as long as their big players - Rooney and Van Persie - have a good night," he said.

"I actually think they will get through. I just feel they can't be as bad as they were against Liverpool again in this match. Liverpool were very good and would have done that to most teams, but I can't believe United will be that poor again."

Asking van Persie and Rooney to combine well might be a tough ask, though, as they have, during various points throughout this season, demonstrated an inability to link-up.

When United lost to Fulham 1-0 last month, there were 649 passes made by the languishing Mancunians, yet only four were exchanged between Rooney and van Persie. Similarly, one week prior, van Persie only passed thrice to Rooney - but all three were from the centre spot, during a kick-off.

Individually, though, both have been exceptional.

Rooney has scored twice and set-up six from six Champions League appearances - an attacking efficiency of a goal or assist every 61 minutes. In the Premier League, meanwhile, van Persie has returned 11 goals and three assists from 18 appearances, he affects the scoreline every 104 minutes he is on the field.

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