Steve Bruce, smarting from yesterday's 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford, reiterated his desire to remain at the managerial helm of Birmingham City and maintained he still had the backing from the majority of the club's supporters.
Despite another heavy defeat, which left Blues firmly entrenched in the relegation zone, Bruce could draw crumbs of comfort from a polished second-half performance that saw a semblance of pride restored after a torrid five days.
A shattering 7-0 home defeat by Liverpool was followed by a chastening outburst from co-owner David Sullivan questioning Birmingham players' value for money.
Bruce remains convinced Sullivan was wrong to launch a broadside at his players, but believes their perceived sense of injustice could be a motivational tool.
"In my opinion it was wrong," said Bruce after the Manchester game, referring to Sullivan's verbal attack. "In my upbringing it is time to batten down the hatches and do your talking on the pitch. Maybe there is a method in his madness.
"Anyway, he has had a fantastic weekend apart from this result as his horse won in Dubai."
Bruce has been moved by the support shown for himself from many different quarters. He was quick to reflect the support on his players.
"I have had a lot of letters urging me to stay on and I thought we rolled up our sleeves and had a right good go after the break.
"All credit to the players. They have been battered from pillar to post all week and to fall a goal behind inside two minutes was a big blow. When that first goal went in I thought 'oh my God' and feared the worst; I'm only human.
"It was the worst possible start as we had hoped to keep a clean sheet for the first 15 or 20 minutes.
"We talked about building a platform but that made it difficult.
"Ryan Giggs punished us and they missed a couple of other really good chances to score.
"However, they stuck at it, although the first goal sums our luck up this season.
"Maik Taylor made a fantastic save from a Giggs free-kick and then the ball rebounded off his head and went in.
"We had a really good chance to make it 2-1 towards the end and at least we've shown a lot of character.
"If it was 2-1 with ten minutes to go then you think we can make a game of it, as we created two unbelievable chances."
After a first-half where Birmingham's defence looked wide open, Bruce was pleased that they bolted the stable door during the second half.
Martin Latka was uneasy all afternoon on his return to the first-team fray and was found wanting when Rooney left him standing for the decisive third goal.
Yet it was a vastly improved showing by Bruce's side, who now have eight games left to save their Premiership status.
Blues remain third-bottom, three points behind West Brom although, significantly, their goal difference is now worse than their Midlands neighbours.
"Realistically, it is a three-way tussle for one place between ourselves, Portsmouth and Albion," Bruce said. "I don't know how many points we are going to need, but we have to finish above those two teams.
"We have a tough game against Chelsea next week, but these are the sort of things you face when you are at the bottom of the table.
"I maintain that if we can get four or five of our injured players back then we will be all right.
"We tightened up in the second half and we did our jobs far better, which pleased me, as we showed a lot of defensive resilience and that has been our strength over the last four years.
"We were all over the place at times but far better in the second half and restricted them to just one chance. Mind you, we gifted them that as well. However, we have restored some pride."