Javier Hernandez was Manchester United’s hero at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, scoring twice against Marseille to fire Sir Alex Ferguson’s side into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Hernandez — preferred to Dimitar Berbatov in the starting line-up — linked up well with Wayne Rooney and struck in each half to take his total to 16 goals in his first season in England.
Rooney insisted United fear no-one in the last eight — not even Barcelona. ‘If you’re going to win this tournament, you have to play anyone and beat them,’ he said.
‘We’re thankful to be in the next round, but whoever we get, we’ll be confident we can win it.
‘It was a tough game and we knew Marseille are a big physical team, but we came through.’
Rooney was magnificent again in a deeper role and laid on the first goal for Hernandez in the fifth minute, before Ryan Giggs and substitute Antonio Valencia set up the Mexico striker for the second 15 minutes from time.
With captain Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand out, United’s defence was further disrupted when John O’Shea and his replacement Rafael went off with hamstring injuries — the Brazilian later being ruled out for up to a month.
And it was Brown who gave Marseille a goal back as he headed into his own net. Ferguson said: ‘It was nervy because we kept having players taken off with injuries. It shifted the balance of the team.
‘We made the substitution, which was a killer because we could have brought Darron Gibson on to give us a bit more height. ‘We had a lack of experience which could have cost us, but we held on.’
Ferguson was delighted with the partnership between Rooney and Hernandez as United reached the
quarter-finals for a fifth year in a row, joining Tottenham.
He said: ‘Where Wayne has played in the last couple of games is a real threat to teams because he has such power and speed with the ball. ‘And of course Hernandez is unbelievable with his movement. The boy’s got goals in him.’ On Barcelona, Ferguson added: ‘We’ve been through this over the years and said “we hope we get this or that”, but you never get who you want.
‘We’ve had some great experiences in the Champions League over the years. It’s the best tournament of all, the one you try to win again.’
Copyright 2011 by The Daily Mail