Fergie wants Rooney row forgotten

United’s prize asset seemed to be on his way out of Old Trafford

after stating a desire to leave and publicly questioning the club’s

ambition. But after an extraordinary few days of headlines, the

25-year-old striker performed a U-turn and signed a new five-year

contract. The reasons for the twists and turns throughout the week

remain a subject of speculation, but Ferguson now wants the matter

forgotten. “It’s all over,” he said. “He’s signed a five-year

contract and we’re happy with that, we kick on. It is all left in

the past. “It is our job now to kick on. We have got really

important issues now, and that is chasing Chelsea. That is our main

aim now, catching them up.” United are five points behind Barclays

Premier League leaders and champions Chelsea ahead of tomorrow’s

home clash against Tottenham. Ferguson has had plenty of experience

in dealing with difficult situations with players in almost 24

years at the Old Trafford helm. The Scot, who has guided United to

11 Premier League titles, usually emerges from them with credit,

but does not want to take praise for another apparent victory. He

said: “I think there have been plenty of issues over the years at

Manchester United. I suppose you could say that was a big one last

week but only in the sense because it was a top player. “There are

plenty of players that come to contract situations that you have to

deal with. The difference is they are normally done really quietly

and unnoticed by most people. “But there is always an issue with a

player’s contract these days. Every club has got them. “The future

is exactly the same as it was a few weeks ago. No-one has left the

club, it is the same. We have the same squad of players.” On the

field, United started to put last week’s problems behind them by

winning 2-1 at Stoke. Having been criticised for surrendering leads

throughout the early part of the campaign, United fans may have

feared dropping more points when Stoke equalised late on. But

victory was secured when in-form Javier Hernandez won the game with

his second of the afternoon four minutes from time. “The area that

is giving us the most concern is throwing games away,” Ferguson

said. “Throwing the game away against Fulham, Everton, West Brom –

six points given away. “We’ve actually given them all at least a

six-point start. We have to catch it up.” Hernandez has now scored

five goals in six games after following up his Stoke double with

another decisive late goal against Wolves in the Carling Cup in

midweek. And with Rooney and Michael Owen injured, the Mexican’s

spell in the spotlight is likely to continue. Rooney is on holiday

in Dubai resting after suffering an ankle injury in training amid

the confusion over his future, while Owen pulled a hamstring in

training prior to the Wolves clash. Ferguson is pleased with the

way the 22-year-old Mexico international has settled at Old

Trafford following his summer move from Estudiantes, but is not

surprised by his success. “We had a feeling he would break through.

Therefore, if it gives you a problem, it is the right kind of

problem,” Ferguson said. “There is plenty of evidence that the boy

has got something and so far so good. He is keeping his place in

the team because he deserves to keep his place.” Rooney was

initially ruled out for three weeks when sidelined last week, but

Ferguson has conceded the injury could be worse than feared. “I

think it may be longer,” he said.