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Sir Alex Ferguson hails Wayne Rooney 'courage'

Wayne Rooney
Rooney scored his first goal from open play since March in the West Brom match

Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praised on Wayne Rooney for "showing courage" during Manchester United's 2-1 victory over West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Rooney's third-minute strike was his first from open play since March 2010.

He provided the assist for Javier Hernandez's winner and played on until the final whistle despite needing treatment for an ankle knock.

"Our doctor thought he'd be out for a couple of weeks but he came back on," said the United boss.

"He showed courage. I thought that performance was world-class."

Ferguson believes his prize forward will now go on a scoring run.


"He is a bit unlucky not to score a couple of extra goals. But that one today will give him unbelievable confidence," added the Scot, who turned 69 on New Year's Eve.

"Hopefully he kicks on from there."

Ferguson believes Rooney's ankle "will be OK" but the Scot added that he remained concerned about other players who picked up injuries.

"Wayne had to come off for a spell, Patrice Evra went down injured, Darron Gibson got an injury to his groin. We were struggling in the last 10 to 15 minutes in terms of not having 11 fully fit players on the pitch," he said on the club website.

Meanwhile, Ferguson believed his veteran full-back Gary Neville should have been sent off for appearing to pull down West Brom's Graham Dorrans in the 18-yard area during the first half.

Phelan admits Man Utd were 'lucky'

"Gary was lucky to stay on," added Ferguson, who was fortunate to see referee Chris Foy wave play on.

"It was a penalty. At first I thought he had got a touch but when I saw it again, he was lucky."

West Brom manager Roberto di Matteo, perhaps predictably, also agreed with Ferguson's belief that Neville should not have stayed on the pitch.

"I feel frustrated. There was an incident in the first half where a United player [Neville] should have been sent off and we should have got a penalty," said the Italian.

Neville should have been shown red - Di Matteo

"Of course I can't just point to that one moment because we've made our own mistakes."

One of those was a penalty missed by striker Peter Odemwingie with the score at 1-1. The Nigerian fired his effort wide of former Baggies keeper Tomasz Kuszczak's right-hand post.

"We were awarded a penalty and we missed it. In the Premier League, if you don't take those chances then you'll be in danger of losing," said Di Matteo.

"We are doing a lot of work and not getting any reward. We need to improve and we will try to make it better. I can't blame my players for this because the commitment is there."

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see also
West Brom 1-2 Man Utd
01 Jan 11 |  Premier League
New Year's Day football as it happened
01 Jan 11 |  Football
Premier League photos
01 Jan 11 |  Football

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