Manchester United manager David Moyes has revealed that he gave his stuttering side both barrels at half-time of last night's Champions League clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, a tongue-lashing that had the desired effect as the Red Devils secured top spot in Group A.
United struggled to match Shakhtar for large spells in their final Champions League group game, giving Moyes plenty to ponder at the break with a victory essential to their hopes of securing a favourable draw in the last 16.
Moyes has revealed that he delivered a damning verdict on United's efforts in the first 45 minutes in his half-time team talk, but was delighted with the response as Phil Jones smashed in a winner that made sure of first place in a tricky group also containing Bayer Leverkusen.
When asked by the Mirror if he got tough at the interval Moyes said: "To be honest, it’s been that way since I came here. We need to win matches and the players responded well to that encouragement.
"We passed the ball much better after we had given it away terribly in the first-half and that’s not like us. I thought there wasn’t much difference to the Everton and Newcastle games. Tonight we got the goal. In those other games, Everton and Newcastle got the goal.
"We finished top of the group and that’s what we wanted. We knew we’d already qualified but we wanted to win the group."
United's strong showings in Europe have provided welcome relief from a difficult Premier League campaign, with the Red Devils unbeaten in six Champions League matches this season.
The pressure is now on Moyes to match his favourable Champions League record with domestic bliss this week, as the battle for Premier League points resumes on Sunday with a trip to the Midlands for a clash with Aston Villa.