Manchester United v Real Sociedad de Futbol - UEFA Champions League

Wayne Rooney rejoices in his “new lease of life” under David Moyes

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After months of saying next to nothing about his feelings for new Manchester United manager David Moyes, Wayne Rooney has come forward to note his sincere appreciation for the new manager.

“The new coaching staff have come in and it’s really a new lease of life,” Rooney admitted after the 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad in the Champions League.

“I’m really enjoying working under David Moyes and his staff. I feel like I am in the prime of my career, I feel good, I feel fit and I am just enjoying my football.”

Rooney’s decision to open up to the media at this point in time is curious with many believing Sir Alex Ferguson’s new autobiography may have been the prompt. But the 28 year old denies the book igniting a feud. “No, not at all. I haven’t seen him since he retired. I’m happy under the new management and working to get results under David Moyes and his coaching staff. That’s the main thing for him and the other stuff doesn’t concern me. That’s the past and I’m just looking to the future.

“He’s got his own opinion but all along I’ve said nothing about it. Thankfully he’s gone back and corrected the story that I put a transfer request in. He’s proved that I haven’t and I’m grateful to him for that.”

Despite only winning 1-0 in yesterday’s match with Real Sociedad, Rooney remained upbeat with his side’s play. “We played some great football and should have won by three or four goals, maybe even five,” Rooney told Sky Sports. “We fully deserved the win, our defending was particularly good and, though we should have had more goals, three points was obviously the most important thing.

“We are working to try to be successful as a team. The new manager has a lot of players hungry and you could see they are all fighting for places. The results haven’t been quite what we want but we are working to put it right.”

The praise Rooney paid Moyes was reflected right back to him by the manager. “Wayne is in great condition, he has trained really hard and he had an absolutely terrific game,” Moyes said. “I’ve been saying that all along but now he seems to have got even better. I was about to say we’ve got the old Wayne Rooney back but it feels more like we have a new Wayne Rooney. He’s proving capable of adding to his game doing different things,and that can only benefit United and England.”

The significance of the exchange of compliments between Rooney and Moyes should not be diminished. In many ways the two are very much in the same boat as both look to bounce back from a difficult past few months.

For Rooney, it’s about proving himself to be the top player everyone knows he can be after enduring such a tumultuous end to his 2012-13 campaign. For Moyes, it’s about showing supporters that despite a poor summer transfer market and start to the season, he still has the confidence and backing of his best players.

It is this mutual support that will prove a key component if United are to enjoy success in the post Sir Alex Ferguson era.

WATCH: Kane’s first half hat trick includes gorgeous volley

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane stadium in London, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
AP Photo/Frank Augstein
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Harry Kane spent the first half hour of Sunday’s tilt versus Stoke torturing the visiting Potters.

Kane opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Christian Eriksen bobbled Dele Alli‘s pass into the 18, but Ryan Shawcross‘ barely hit his clearance and Kane took a touch before belting home for the advantage.

[ WATCH: Spurs-Stoke live, replay ]

His second was lovely, bounding a low volley between the legs of Victor Wanyama and by a diving Lee Grant.

The third carried a bit of luck, with his low free kick taking a turn off the leg of wall end Peter Crouch to elude a lunging Grant. 3-0.

Here are the first and third, too:

Liverpool, Southampton lead EFL Cup Team of the Tournament

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The EFL Cup has named its team of the tournament ahead of Sunday morning’s final between Southampton and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

Liverpool and Southampton lead the way with two players each, while finalists Manchester United have just one player in the team.

[ MORE: Whitecaps acquire Brek Shea ]

That’s Ander Herrera, who joins a midfield with Sofiane Boufal (Saints), Mohamed Diame (Newcastle United), and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal).

Up top are Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham, the latter for his work at Bristol City.

The back four is led by Saints’ Maya Yoshida and Hull City’s Harry Maguire, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) and Matty Pearson (Accrington Stanley) joining the unit.

The backstop is Leeds United’s Marco Silvestri.

Watch Live: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Stoke City (Lineups, Stream)

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Wifried Bony of Stoke City and Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur battle for possession during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur at Britannia Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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The penultimate Premier League match of the weekend pits Stoke City against third-place Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on Sunday (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Jan Vertonghen is back alongside Toby Alderweireld in the heart of Spurs’ back line, and it’s no surprise that PL Download stars Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris also start.

Geoff Cameron‘s four-month layoff appears to be reaching its end, as the USMNT back is on the subs bench for Stoke City. He last played on Oct. 22.

LINEUPS

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker, Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, Kane. Subs: Vorm, Trippier, Wimmer, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Janssen.

Stoke City: Grant; Bardsley, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters; Whelan, Adam; Arnautovic, Allen, Ramadan; Crouch. Subs: Given; Muniesa, Berahino, Afellay, Diouf, Cameron, Imbula.

Sydney FC return to winning ways in A-League

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 24:  Goalkeeper Danny Vukovic of Sydney FC makes a save as Bruno Fornaroli of City competes for the ball during the round 21 A-League match between Melbourne City and Sydney FC at AAMI Park on February 24, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images
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SYDNEY (AP) Bobo scored twice as Sydney FC rebounded from its first loss in the A-League to beat Melbourne City 3-1 and continue atop the table.

[ MORE: Schmeichel speaks about Ranieri sacking, state of Leicester ]

Sydney’s ambitious attempt to become the first team to end the regular season unbeaten came unstuck last week when it was beaten by Western Sydney Wanderers in a fractious local derby, repercussions of which continued through the week. Wanderers were fined $20,000 by Football Federation Australia after its fans unfurled an obscene banner targeting Sydney coach Graham Arnold.

[ MORE: Chelsea, Everton extend unbeaten run in Saturday’s PL play ]

Sydney raised itself above that controversy on Friday with a comprehensive win over Melbourne City which briefly took it 11 points clear in first place.

Melbourne Victory restored the gap to eight points when it beat defending champion Adelaide United 2-1, and Perth leapfrogged Melbourne City into third place when it dumped the Wanderers 2-0.

Bobo opened Sydney’s scoring with a penalty, but City canceled that out only a minute later.

Sydney went in front again after the break, and Bobo sealed the win, set up by a superb through ball by Milos Ninkovic which highlighted their developing combination.

Midfielder Brandon O’Neil said Sydney was determined to leave behind the contention of their derby loss.

“When it all came out, the FFA and Western Sydney had to deal with it and it did,” O’Neil said. “It brought us together and we spoke about a few things, and nothing changed for us. We want to be premier (champions).”

Melbourne Victory’s win over Adelaide kept it in touch with Sydney with seven regular season rounds remaining.

Wellington kept its faint playoff hopes alive, staying in seventh place with a 2-1 win over Brisbane.