Red Devils talisman Rooney, fresh from signing his new five-and-a-halfyear contract – worth an incredible £85million – added to Robin van Persie’s penalty to seal an all important win at Crystal Palace.
“It did not matter whether I had signed a new deal or not, I still give 100 per cent for the team,” said Rooney.
“As it was, it (the deal) has been agreed for about a month and I just wanted it tied up as quickly as possible.
“I’m happy and settled and let my football do the talking. It was good to get the win here, even though the first goal took a bit of time coming. That first goal was important.
“We moved the ball well, maybe could have created more chances. But we controlled the game and knew once we scored the goal we could see the game out.”
United boss David Moyes has been unhappy with some decisions from referees that have gone against his side this season.
But there was no argument with Michael Oliver’s decision to point to the spot when Eagles forward Marouane Chamakh needlessly brought down Patrice Evra inside the penalty box.
It did not matter whether I had signed a new deal or not, I still give 100 per cent for the team
Van Persie’s clinical spot-kick eased the pressure on United which came on the back of 62 minutes of frustration, with fit-again Marouane Fellaini spurning a glorious chance just before half-time.
Then Rooney made an instant repayment on his monster deal to volley Evra’s cross beyond Julian Speroni, and send United into sixth spot in the Premier League.
That is the Red Devils’ highest position since the end of November as Moyes’ side now lie just eight points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who face Swansea today, in the race for the Champions League.
For Tony Pulis’ Palace, who remain just two points above the relegation zone, this was a plucky display in which they gave as good as they got for long periods, and games like this will not seal their fate come May.
It will be matches against the sides in and around them in the basement scrap which will determine whether they are relegated. They held United early doors, though Adnan Januzaj dragged a good chance wide.
Januzaj made a bright start and would have broken the deadlock in the 17th minute if he had not used his left arm to control the ball before firing past Speroni.
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Either side of his early contribution, Rooney was on the receiving end of abuse from the home faithful at corners. As if his bumper contract was not enough, the England ace even had Palace supporters throwing their money at him.
United’s patience was rewarded when Januzaj’s inside pass found the on-rushing Evra who beat Chamakh to the ball and went down under the forward’s clumsy challenge. Van Persie stepped up to send Speroni the wrong way before Rooney added the gloss on a professional display.
Moyes celebrated Rooney’s effort on the touchline like a man who knew the job had been done. But, moments later, it could have been three for United when Van Persie smashed a shot against Speroni’s woodwork.
With Rooney and Van Persie firing again, followers of the red half of Manchester might think a top-four league finish – while difficult – could still be within their grasp.
Moyes’ side face Liverpool on home soil next month and, if they can reproduce the same level of performance, do not rule them out.
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