Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he was happy enough with Manchester United's 2-0 win against Ajax, despite failing to hit top gear in Amsterdam.
The hosts had the better of a goalless first-half but United took control of the game after the break.
Ashley Young opened the scoring after 59 minutes and Javier Hernandez added the second five minutes from time ensuring United head into next week's second leg at Old Trafford as firm favourites.
"The result was better than the performance," said Ferguson.
"The first half was disappointing. We found it difficult to get rhythm and speed to our game. Ajax pressed the ball very well and played nice football.
"We had to waken up in the second half because we were making it difficult for ourselves.
"The second half improved and we made some good opportunities. We deserved to win and you can't complain too much when you win 2-0 away from home."
The United boss was delighted with the performance of winger Ashley Young who marked his first appearance since Christmas with his fourth goal of the season.
"It was Ashley's first game in two months," said Ferguson.
"Nani came back as well, Phil Jones has played a full game, which is good for us and Tom Cleverley has played a bit of football too so bit by bit we are getting stronger."
Providing they avoid an unexpected disaster next week United will face either Lokomotiv Moscow or Athletic Bilbao in the last 16 of the competition.
The Russians hold a narrow 2-1 lead after the first leg, raising the potential for a lengthy trip to Moscow in between key Premier League fixtures against West Brom and Wolves.
However, Ferguson believes United are more than capable of meeting the demands of playing two games in the space of four days from now until the end of the season.
"Hopefully we have the squad to cope with this competition," he added.
"Of course, it is difficult to say because we have never experienced it.
"But there are some very good teams in it, so there is no lack of incentive.
"Winning is a habit too and we are in a good spell just now."