Football Expert & Columnist
Champions League: Wayne Rooney's all-round play was superb against Bayer Leverkusen
Wayne Rooney was inspired as Man Utd intimidated Bayer Leverkusen, says Graeme Souness.
Last Updated: 28/11/13 10:49am
Striker Rooney set up four goals as United eased to a stylish 5-0 victory - their biggest ever away win in the competition, which secures their place in the last 16.
United boss David Moyes said that 39-year-old Ryan Giggs was also highly influential in the victory and Souness told Sky Sports it was a thoroughly convincing display.
"I thought Giggs had a good game but he wasn't alone," reflected Souness. "I thought Valencia was the best player on the pitch, with Rooney just behind him.
"Rooney had four assists. He's been the star player this year - he's been the difference in so many games.
"He would have liked to have scored and he was a bit unlucky with the last goal but his all-round play was superb and he put them on the road to what was a convincing and thoroughly-deserved victory."
United are now three points clear of Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat Real Sociedad 4-0. Moyes' team need only a draw when the two sides meet at Old Trafford in the final group game to go through as Group A winners and Souness says they are starting to stamp their authority on the competition.
"Going into this game I was worried about United in the centre of midfield because this team is second in the Bundesliga," said the three-time European Cup winner.
"They had a good result at the weekend, they are in front of Dortmund and we know how good they are. Plus, we've seen what Bayern Munich can do. So I thought this team must be really good but I felt they were intimidated by the name of Manchester United.
"I think they were frightened before they got started; I think it happened in the first game, too. That's what United do to teams and there is pedigree, now, so that when they do play teams there is an element of fear.
"You have to believe that they are a better team than how they played. All credit to Manchester United because you can only beat the team that you are playing against.
"It says as much about Leverkusen that this is their greatest ever result away from home in the Champions League than it does about United, because this is far from the greatest Man Utd team that has ever been involved in this competition.
"But fair play to United. They've gone through, they've done what they have to do and they were under a certain amount of pressure after being quite disappointing on Sunday. They are not sitting in the league where they'd like to be but they did a really good job and they should be proud of themselves."
Souness stressed, though, that United still have plenty of work to do in the Premier League, where they currently sit sixth, seven points behind leaders Arsenal after a 2-2 draw against Cardiff at the weekend.
United's next opponents are Tottenham, who will be aiming to bounce back from their 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Manchester City in Sunday's clash at White Hart Lane and Souness said the match is vital for both sides' league aspirations.
"You are looking to build up a bit of momentum," he said. "Chelsea had a really good result at West Ham and then they played miserably on Tuesday.
"David Moyes will have hoped that Manchester United, on the heels of a great performance against Arsenal, would have kicked on but they didn't; they were quite miserable against Cardiff on Sunday.
"The manager has got to make his players believe that they are capable of performing like that every week.
"Like all of the teams, with Arsenal being the only exception, everyone is looking to get a bit of a run going but they are stuttering.
"We're not far away from Christmas and normally by this time two or three teams have put a marker down and shown consistency but really only Arsenal have done that so far."