Norwich City’s performance at Manchester United was the best since Wembley play-off final

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Alexander Tettey of Norwich in action during the match on Satu

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Alexander Tettey of Norwich in action during the match on Saturday. Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

When Saturday comes, you always have to be optimistic don't you? But I genuinely felt optimistic as my 15-year-old son Tom and I headed up to Manchester United on Saturday morning.

Okay, so the bet didn't come in at one-nil to the Canaries with Brady as the first goal scorer, but after what happened at Old Trafford do I care?

I thought that it would either be a really good or bad time to play them, but after speaking to a few United mates in the build up to the game they just instilled a bit more confidence in me that we just may go up there and get a result.

With the Watford result aside, we have been looking a lot more solid the past few games.

In the Arsenal and Everton games, we just lacked that killer touch in front of goal.

Tactically we appear to be getting it together and starting to play as a team once again.

At Old Trafford at the weekend, we played the best that we have played since the play-off final at Wembley in May.

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We oozed confidence in all areas of the pitch. We did play the odd stray pass at the start of the game, but we were soon back winning the ball again anytime that it happened. We were straight on it and in their faces, we were first to the ball for most of the time.

Gary O'Neil has just been such an inspiration as I said in my last post. We were committed and crisp in the tackle, something that we have lacked all season as we pressed, harried and closed down a Manchester United team that is lacking in confidence, belief and desire. Before O'Neil's arrival to the starting 11 we were extremely lacking in that department.

We rattled them, we ground them down and they looked defeated before they actually were.

Just take a look at Wayne Rooney's despairing lunge at Tettey before he and Jerome broke for Tettey to toe poke home for the second goal.

It summed the day up and on another day, if he had of made contact, he would have had a straight red. It was a sign of his own poor individual performance on his 500th appearance.

I also thought that for the first time this season we looked like we had a real spine to our team.

Declan Rudd was commanding, look at the way he came out and closed Smalling down in the closing minutes.

Ryan Bennett, didn't lose a single header all game, O'Neil was immense and once again more than stated his case for continued selection, what a leader.

And Cameron Jerome also had his most effective game since that day back in May. It was perfect, just an absolutely fantastic all round team performance.

They were my star players of the day, but Martin, Bassong, Tettey and Redmond were all back to their very best as Wes did what he does best under Alex Neil.

He is such a joy to watch when he is on fire and we are so very lucky to have him as we will miss him dearly whenever he leaves for as long as he is playing in the manner that he is just now, for he is indeed one very special individual.

In the substitutes Howson, Mulumbu and Mbokani also played a key part in keeping the teams shape, but also in putting us back on the offensive when there was an opportunity.

This is what we need every week, but is the squad capable of doing this week in, week out?

Well up until now the answer has been, no, but the signs are encouraging as maybe just maybe Neil has started to get the right formula with his squad and his tactics, just as Bournemouth's Eddie Howe has in recent weeks also.

If we can add a player of the calibre of Steven Naismith to the squad and another centre back, then we are very much back in the fight for survival.

Whatever happens from here on in, the past two weeks should give everyone connected to the club a lot of heart.

Bring it on, because we are very much back in the game on this form.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, thanks for reading the blog.

• You can follow Steve Plunkett on Twitter at @plunkykos