Manchester United were held to a 0-0 draw by Villarreal in Champions League Group E – and even the return to action of Cristiano Ronaldo following ankle surgery, failed to ignite the holders.
Despite the result, manager Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that United will soon return to form.
Having collected just one win and four goals in six games, United face Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday.
“We are a bit short but the games will bring us on,” Ferguson said.
“We will improve from now. We have a little bit to go yet. But once the sharpness of play comes, I am sure the goals will come as well.”
Ferguson believes the rousing reception Cristiano Ronaldo received will have convinced the player he made the right decision in staying at Old Trafford.
“He has had a turbulent summer and a lot has been said about it but when I had my meeting in June in Portugal with him that was over,” Ferguson said.
“He dedicated himself to getting fit and his commitment to the club.
“It (the crowd’s reception) was important for Cristiano.
“I think he realises what a great club he is at and how loyal the fans are. He will take great encouragement from that.”
The United boss admitted that the Portuguese winger was unlikely to start against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
“That was his first game back so it is a big ask to think about Sunday.
“To come back like that, without a practice match or anything, the boy has done very well.”