Rooney targets United goal rush
Rooney had just three to his name - two of which were penalties - prior to Tuesday night's Premier League victory over Aston Villa. It took the England star just 50 seconds to add to his haul with a fine finish, before tapping home another in first-half injury-time as United recorded a 3-1 win that kept them in charge of the title race and extended their unbeaten run to a club record-equalling 29 league games. Nemanja Vidic also scored with a superb effort, while Darren Bent scored his second goal since joining Villa. "I have been happy with my play but obviously I want to score," said Rooney. "As a striker you want to score goals but I have been happy with my performances, apart from the Blackpool match last week when I just couldn't get back into the game. "I am delighted to have scored and hopefully I can go on a run now and help the team to win games." Rooney was honest enough to hand out the credit to Edwin van der Sar for his punt forward that created his first, and a brilliant Nani cross that left him with the simplest of finishes for his second. "I have had a few chances off Edwin," he said. "It is something we have been trying for the past few years. It was a great ball by him and thankfully I was able to put it away. "It was also a great ball from Nani. That is something he can do really well and it would be great to see him do more of it. "He has got great dribbling skills but he is also a great crosser of a ball. If he mixes that up he will be really difficult for defenders to mark." It leaves United on top of the table, although Rooney is expecting a stiffer challenge from Chelsea, who remain 10 points adrift but have been reinforced by their £70million outlay on Fernando Torres and David Luiz. "We certainly haven't written Chelsea off," he said. "They are a big, strong side and we know if anyone is capable of going on a good run then it is them. "But we know it is up to us where the title goes and hopefully we can win it back." Villa boss Gerard Houllier acknowledged his side had unwittingly provided Rooney with a helping hand on his way back to form. "Wayne Rooney was the difference today. He was awesome," said the Frenchman. "But we have helped his confidence. What he needed was a goal. We gave him one. He took it very well." United remain five points ahead of Arsenal. But with Rooney now rediscovering his goalscoring touch, Houllier is expecting more of the Red Devils. "They have managed to win a lot of games and remain unbeaten without him," he said. "With him, wow. "He was on top of his game today. He had everything. He can control, turn, twist, play the pass. He defends, he works hard. It was an example for what kids should do. The workrate and link play. Everything." Houllier will get no argument from Sir Alex Ferguson, who was also delighted with Vidic's superb strike, which ensured United were able to claim the win after a nervy period around Bent's goal at the start of the second-half. "I have not seen too many like that from Nemanja," he said. "It was a fantastic finish. He got the first header and knocked it down for Wayne, who teed it up for him. It was a great strike at a very important time. "They had scored the goal to make it 2-1 but we responded right away to really kill the game." It was also confirmed that Ferguson has included injury-striken star Owen Hargreaves in his 25-man squad for the remainder of the Premier League campaign, having opted to make Anders Lindegaard his only purchase of a frantic January transfer window. "Obviously the Darren Bent transfer sparked these escalating fees," observed Alex Ferguson. "People were saying if Darren Bent is worth £24million, my player is worth £24million-plus. It created a chain reaction right throughout the country."