John Peters / Getty
Sir Alex Ferguson hailed his new-look attack after Manchester United hung on to claim their first league win of the season.
As Old Trafford reeled with first the dropping and then the crocking of Wayne Rooney – the England striker being ruled out for four weeks after suffering a nasty gash – Fergie could at least celebrate first goals for new boys Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa.
Rooney had been left out of the starting line-up – and his nightmare got worse after he came on and suffered the injury following a clash with Hugo Rodallega.
Rooney chased in to block the Fulham player’s shot and was caught just above his knee by Rodallega’s follow-through.
“It is a very bad cut,” said Ferguson. “He went straight to hospital. It looks like he will be out for four weeks. It’s a bad one.”
The month lay-off will mean Rooney misses England’s next two games. Both are World Cup qualifiers, with a trip to Moldova followed by a clash with Ukraine at Wembley.
England boss Roy Hodgson will have to review his limited attacking options and there are some who will recall Rooney’s lacklustre performances at Euro 2012 who will claim he’s not much of a loss to his country at the moment.
But United boss Ferguson was full of praise for Van Persie and Kagawa, who both scored in his team’s victory over the Cottagers.
Bloody hell! Rooney checks out the sizeable gash on his inner leg
Tom Purslow / Getty
Fergie said: “I thought it was a fantastic goal by Van Persie. And Shagawa did well too. It’s early doors but they will develop an even better understanding.
“I started with just Robin up front but we normally do that. We played with one up a lot last season. Sometimes it was Wayne or Ashley Young or Danny Welbeck or Ryan Giggs.”
Fulham took a third-minute lead through Damian Duff, but United stormed back and were 3-1 ahead.
But Ferguson was not pleased with the way United almost threw away their lead as Martin Jol’s side got back into the game and came agonisingly close to an equaliser.
“I felt very nervy at the end,” he said. “We were in cruise control at half-time. In the first half, we were fantastic. We had made such a good start and our intensity was terrific.
“But we saw the two sides of Manchester United. We made a bad mistake for them to make it 3-2 (a Nemanja Vidic own goal) and then it became a match all of a sudden.
“We couldn’t keep up the high tempo of the game and our game went downhill.”
Fulham boss Jol said: “In the second half we played really well and should have got at least a point.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea remained top of the Premier League after a convincing 2-0 victory over Newcastle, with goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres.