Manchester United Must Use Victory To Build Momentum - John O'Shea

John O'Shea wore the captain's armband for Manchester United today as they opened their Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City at Old Trafford today, and the Irishman, deployed at centre-back in the absence of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, feels that it is imperative his side maintain their good form.

"You don't want to be playing catch-up, even after only one game. Other teams are looking stronger now so it's important we stamp our authority early on in the season," the utility man told United's official website.

"We've opened the last two league seasons with draws (against Reading and Newcastle) so we're happy to have picked up three points against Birmingham. Now we move on with a tough game at Burnley to look forward to."

United face the short trip to Turf Moor in midweek, and if asked to skipper the side again, O'Shea will relish the experience, just as he did in providing guidance for the relatively inexperienced back four deployed alongside him today.

"It was very special. I've done it in friendly matches which is also nice, but to do it in a Premier League game when it really matters, for the manager to have faith in me like that, is something special and something I'll always cherish," he added.

"I enjoyed playing alongside Jonny Evans at centre-back, we know each other very well as we're good friends off the pitch. So there wasn't going to be a problem there and behind us Ben Foster showed he's going to be a special keeper as well."

Wayne Rooney scored the decisive goal today, in a game that was also marked by the second-half appearance from the bench of Michael Owen, who had one effort ruled out for offside and another saved by Blues keeper Joe Hart.

O'Shea feels sure that both Rooney and Owen will go on to score many vital goals over the course of the coming campaign, and more will soon follow once Owen breaks his duck.

"Michael Owen was unlucky with a couple of chances but I'm sure he'll get off the mark soon. I think he'll be like Wayne in that he'll get his goals in runs. The sooner the first one comes, the better," the Irishman continued.

"As for Wayne, I think pre-season was so important, for him to get that sharpness he needs. Once he gets that, he's so hard to stop. I think that goal today will give him a lot of confidence and it's only going to benefit us in the games to come."

Although United never looked uncomfortable, their inability to find a second goal meant that Ben Foster's late save from Christian Benitez was perhaps more significant than it should have been, and O'Shea felt that another goal would have made things more comfortable for the Mancunians.

"It would have been nice to get the second goal, particularly in the first half because I think then you would have seen a more confident second-half performance from us," he affirmed.

"I think we let the edginess creep into our game in the second half and that gave Birmingham encouragement."

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