Sir Alex Ferguson has praised new signings David De Gea and Ashley Young, after Manchester United left The Hawthorns with a 2-1 win over West Brom in their opening game of the season.
United went 1-0 up after Wayne Rooney scored on 13 minutes, but the side looked shaky towards the end of the period, with Baggies striker Shane Long taking advantage. The new signing equalised in the 37th minute.
An own goal from Steven Reid late on helped United secure all three points, and despite new goalkeeper De Gea taking some of the blame for Long’s successful strike, Ferguson insisted the Spanish Under 21 international needs time to adjust to English football.
“I think it was just a bit of concentration there,” Ferguson said of Long’s goal.
“I patted him on the head and said, ‘Welcome to English football’ because he took a battering in the second half. He should have maybe been protected more by the referee but he withstood it and it was a good experience for him.
“David is only 20 years of age. We expect a learning process at the moment and we'll see it through.”
Ferguson went so far as to compare De Gea to Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel, who enjoyed nine successful years at the club, but didn’t have the most consistent start.
“Ours is a different type of game for goalkeepers coming in from Europe,” Ferguson said.
“Schmeichel was the same when he came. Wimbledon away on a Wednesday night was his first away game and they gave him a torrid time. Then in the home game on the following Saturday against Leeds he lost a really bad goal but Peter went on to be possibly the greatest goalkeeper of all time."
Ferguson also reserved special praise for Ashley Young, who set up both the goal for Rooney and the own goal later in the match to give United the win.
The manager added: “He's got good composure on the ball and he's not just a crosser, his interplay with the rest of the players was good.
“He made the first goal for Wayne Rooney with a good pass and he was a threat all the time. He had a few crosses blocked and when he decided to go the opposite way and go towards the byline, he had instant success.
"Okay, it was an own goal but he created the danger by getting to the byline.”
And whilst United weren’t overly convincing in their victory, Ferguson saw a lot of positives from the stalwarts as well as the newcomers.
“We had some good performances. Rooney was fantastic today, he was all over the pitch. Young Cleverley did well and I have to say when your two most experienced players have to come off in the second half, it's not easy for a young defender to go on.
"But Phil Jones and Jonny Evans were terrific, absolutely terrific.”