Five lessons learned from Manchester United's West Ham win: Rooney, Falcao and McNair feature

Rooney Everton

Five things we learned from Manchester United's 2-1 win over West Ham United...

Some things never change

It was all going well for Wayne Rooney yesterday afternoon. Until the old Rooney kicked in.

And kick he did, as the Manchester United captain launched an appalling challenge onto a West Ham player and caught him above the knee in frustration. There is no place for that in football. It was a disgrace, plain and simple.

Rooney is now the captain of one of the biggest clubs in the world and also the English national team. But his actions suggest some things never change. Any more outbursts like the one that got him sent off yesterday should see Louis van Gaal warn him over the captaincy.

The kids are alright...

United did win despite their skipper's best efforts, however. While he was on the pitch, he even scored a fine goal to give his side the lead.

More impressive was their defending, though, and especially that of 19-year-old debutant Paddy McNair. Sir Alex Ferguson famously proved that you can win things with kids and a similar rule is applying to United's back four this season.

Indeed, it is no exaggeration to suggest that Tyler Blackett and McNair have produced some of United's best defensive performances so far this term.

Falcao and RVP are forming quite an understanding together

Another positive: Radamel Falcao. And that leads onto yet another one: Robin van Persie.

Indeed, the Man United strikers have played alongside each other just twice but are already forming quite an understanding together. Class shows, with the Colombian assisting Van Persie for the second game running.

The Dutchman, in turn, has responded by tucking Falcao's passes home with aplomb.

De Gea needs to improve

At the other end of the field, though, Louis van Gaal faces yet more problems. Although Manchester United's defensive display was a marked improvement against West Ham, David de Gea was extremely poor for the Hammers' goal.

Better, more attacking sides will cause United problems if they produce a similar display and the Spaniard needs to up his game fast.

It's a long way back...

That ties in with a more general theme for United. Considering their injury crisis and the crushing blow of surrendering a 3-1 lead to lose 5-3 at Leicester City last weekend, the 2-1 triumph over Sam Allardyce's men was very impressive.

But the overall performance had several flaws - and they will be exposed if they are not addressed beforehand.

Saturday was certainly a step in the right direction, however...

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