SCHOLES: I CAN IMPROVE
“I know over the years I've played better than I am doing now. I want to get back to those sorts of levels and hopefully I can do that.”
“The amount of goals and the amount of assists he's had has been frightening. I haven't seen anybody take players on, score goals and make goals like he has in this first half of the season, so he rightfully deserves that tag.
“We just hope that for the second half of the season he can have the same effect on the team that he's had in the first half. We're sure he can do that.”
James Lawton in the Independent:
Martin O'Neill picked out the greatest single factor in the renaissance of United: “Scholes has played majestically today, perhaps because he is majestic.”
Not even Scholes in his current mode can achieve perfection with every performance, but the fact is that United are most clearly where they are today - still six points ahead of Chelsea and, logic insists, too far ahead of Arsenal to worry about the thrilling re-emergence of some of the best of Arsène Wenger's work - not only because the former England midfielder beat a serious eye problem.
He also returned to football with all the best of himself sharpened by, among other things, the sense that he will not have so many more opportunities to be so true to the meaning of his career.
Here he explained all over again that it has been as brilliant as it has been understated and unadorned by anything that was not about doing the job that lay before him, every time he went out on the field.
It is, of course, to shape a football match along classic lines. Park Ji Sung and Michael Carrick scored the early goals, Cristiano Ronaldo ended the match after 35 minutes - and ensured that there would again be substance in another performance that sometimes still flirted too dangerously with the lure of pure cabaret - but it was Scholes' rippling passes and incessant intelligence which stood out so brilliantly from the first exchanges.
If Scholes had to be man of the match because of the sheer volume and quality of his contribution, the expectation of which had no doubt sparked the earlier support for him as anyone's idea of Footballer of the Year from his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, it was not the easiest such selection of the season.