Rival bosses lead Rooney praise

Rival bosses Sir Alex Ferguson and Gianfranco Zola queued up to praise another striking masterclass from Wayne Rooney.

Rooney is now on 27 goals for the season, 15 fewer than Cristiano Ronaldo managed in his legendary campaign that saw him crowned world player of the year two seasons ago.

"He has been watching my videos," laughed Alex Ferguson of Rooney's two headers.

"They were two excellent headers, although there was also some good play from Antonio Valencia."

Ferguson had in fact paid Rooney more fulsome praise in his programme notes, so it was left to Gianfranco Zola to offer a more honest appraisal of the striker's latest work.

"Everything he touches is turning to gold at the moment," said the Hammers chief.

"He is the the kind of form that means every single opportunity can become a goal.

"I thought he had a normal game. But he scored two goals and he might have had another one, which tells its own story.

"Having a player like him helps any situation. One man cannot do it all on his own. But he can make a big difference."

Michael Owen added a third, his first goal since scoring a hat-trick against Wolfsburg in December, to seal a win that took United to within a point of leaders Chelsea and put them in good heart ahead of their Wembley encounter with Aston Villa on Sunday.

"We had to win," conceded Ferguson, who is now set to recall Darren Fletcher and Rafael Da Silva amongst others.

"There will be changes on Sunday now.

"I have done that all along in the competition and I will have to look at the situation to make sure we have a fresh team."

Source: Sporting Life
Date Published: 24 February 2010