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Page last updated at 18:58 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 19:58 UK

Ferguson hails new strike force

Wayne Rooney
Rooney's goals helped United to an emphatic win at the DW Stadium

Sir Alex Ferguson paid tribute to his new-look Manchester United strike force, with Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen scoring in the 5-0 win at Wigan.

Rooney scored his 100th and 101st goals for United while Owen joined Dimitar Berbatov and Nani on the scoresheet with his first goal for the club.

"It's a great achievement as he is only a young lad. It will do him the world of good," said boss Ferguson on Rooney.

"And Owen is one the best finishers this country has ever had."

The defending Premier League champions eased to victory with all the goals coming in the second half at the DW Stadium.

And the tally prompted Ferguson to be effusive in his praise of the prolific Rooney.

"Some players have been at the club for many years and not reached that total yet," he said.

"Strikers have to score - that is their mantra. If they are not scoring they think the world is at an end.

"When they are scoring they think they will never finish scoring. But that is what they are."

Shock summer signing Owen replaced England forward Rooney with 18 minutes remaining, and got off the mark for United with a clever finish that saw him lift the ball over Chris Kirkland and into the corner of the net.

You have got to react to defeat and it is always a challenge. But we got a really good response today

Sir Alex Ferguson

"That is what he needed, he needed a goal," Ferguson added. "It is what he is made of.

"I was so pleased for him and Dimitar Berbatov. If the strikers keep doing that it gives us a big chance."

Owen had wasted scoring opportunities in both of United's opening two league games and was pleased to finally open his account.

"I probably scored the hardest chance I've had," said Owen afterwards.

"I had two chances at Burnley and one against Birmingham, but this was the fourth real opportunity I've had.

"I don't think I missed a chance in pre-season, but I've missed a couple since the season started and as ever everyone is quick to write you off. It was as if I hadn't scored for a couple of years."

The 29-year-old England striker, who is hoping to get back into Fabio Capello's plans for next summer's World Cup finals, says he has got used to people questioning his form and fitness.

"That's something I've had to deal with for 10-odd years now and I don't think that will change until I hang up my boots," he explained.

"It was certainly a great feeling to score. I'd got a few in pre-season but there's nothing quite like doing it in a competitive game."

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Owen is also confident that his first goal since 10 January will quickly be followed by many more for United, who he joined from Newcastle in July.

"I'd be disappointed if people didn't think I could go on from here," he added.

"I obviously believe I can as I have done throughout my career and I certainly expect to score more goals in the red shirt."

Ferguson was pleased with United's response following the surprising 1-0 midweek defeat at Burnley but admitted that, just as it proved costly against the Clarets, his side's finishing let them down in the first half against Wigan.

He said: "You have got to react to defeat and it is always a challenge. But we got a really good response today.

"When you are making chances and don't take them it is a worry. We made six chances in the first half and did not take any.

"But the important thing is to have the patience to keep playing and keep believing and we did that."

Rooney made the breakthrough in the 56th minute with a header from Antonio Valencia's cross, which was swiftly followed by a clinical finish by Berbatov.

Mario Melchiot deflected a Rooney shot into his own net before Owen's cool finish and Nani's stoppage-time free-kick ensured United finished the game with a flourish.

United have now won two out of their first three Premier League games, with Rooney also scoring the winner against Birmingham City.



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see also
Wigan 0-5 Man Utd
22 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Ferdinand targets early comeback
25 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Burnley 1-0 Man Utd
19 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Man Utd 1-0 Birmingham
16 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Lawro on Manchester United
10 Aug 09 |  Man Utd


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