Rooney sets himself goals target

Wayne Rooney says he would be stunned if he failed to eclipse his

best seasonal tally of 23 following Manchester United’s 5-0 win

over Wigan.

Rooney found the net for the 15th time this season as he

scored the first goal in Manchester United’s 5-0 hammering of Wigan

at Old Trafford tonight. The result took the Red Devils to within

two points of Premier League leaders Chelsea heading into 2010,

just as Sir Alex Ferguson demanded.

In addition, United have clawed back Chelsea’s massive goal

difference advantage. Now they trail by just two, with Rooney

certain he is going to get a few more.

“I would hope to beat my best total,” he said. “If I don’t

get another eight goals from now until the end of the season there

is something seriously wrong.

“I hit the post before I scored and the bar afterwards. I am

doing well and I feel fit. Hopefully that will continue.”

Following on from his superb performance at Hull on Sunday,

it was another masterclass from Rooney, which drew warm praise from

Ferguson.

“Wayne was absolutely fantastic again, just like Sunday,”

said the United boss. “The energy he showed in his game and his

desire is marvellous.”

Even Wigan boss Roberto Martinez was purring. “Wayne Rooney

has been showing great maturity for the whole season,” he said. “He

is among that elite group of players in the Premier League who are

truly world class.”

However, Rooney was not alone in excelling. Antonio Valencia

in particular had a productive night against his old club, taking

his own tally to seven by netting the final goal of the year after

Michael Carrick, Rafael Da Silva and Dimitar Berbatov had found the

net.

“Valencia is doing really well,” said Rooney. “He is really

quick and is aggressive getting to the ball and his crosses are

brilliant.

“To score seven goals already is a great achievement.”

Ferguson believes the Ecuador winger will get even more as

the season goes on, and they will be needed too as United chase a

record fourth consecutive Premier League title.

Aston Villa’s stumble over the Christmas period seems to have

turned the title battle into a three-horse race between United,

Chelsea and Arsenal, who have a match in hand.

“It is fairly close at the top,” Rooney added. “Arsenal are

up there as well and the team who is most consistent from now on

will win the league.”