ALEX FERGUSON gave Wayne Rooney a ticking off despite his two-goal contribution to Manchester United's 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford yesterday.
Rooney converted the early penalty questionably gained by Ashley Young and doubled his tally 17 minutes before the end.
It took him to 31 for the season but Rooney did not look particularly impressed when he was replaced immediately by Dimitar Berbatov.
However, Ferguson believed the performance had not been one of Rooney's best and that he had been sucked into a rather lethargic display.
"He was careless," said the United boss. "Wayne has to play on the edge of a game, when it is really close and competitive.
"When the game gets to that casual bit, he is worse than the rest of them. He gets really casual about it.
"It is better when he is on the edge. Then he is a marvellous player."
After having their lead cut to two points by Manchester City 24 hours earlier, United never looked like failing to restore that five-point gap yesterday and goals from Danny Welbeck and Nani at the end of either half ensured their dominance was fully rewarded.
Now they know victory over Everton at Old Trafford next Sunday would mean a record championship will be won if they beat City in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on April 30 no matter what Roberto Mancini's men do at Wolves in the meantime.
Not that Rio Ferdinand is too bothered about the prospect of confirming superiority at the home of United's biggest rivals. "I couldn't care less," said Ferdinand. "As long as we can win and we get the trophy, I couldn't care less where we win it."
Typically, Ferguson is not even prepared to go that far.
"You can never be too confident in this game," he said.
"My experience tells me that there is always something that is going to bite you on the bum.
"Hopefully we can avoid that."