WAYNE Rooney has echoed Alex Ferguson's criticism of his recent performances for Manchester United by admitting he was "not good enough" during Sunday's 4-0 victory against Aston Villa.
Although Rooney took his tally for the season to 31 goals in all competitions with a double against Villa, United manager Ferguson complained of the England forward being "careless" and "casual" before replacing him with Dimitar Berbatov in the 74th minute.
Rooney was also substituted during the 1-0 defeat at Wigan last Wednesday following another poor display.
With United aiming to win the title by claiming six points from their next two games against Everton and Manchester City, the 26 year-old has admitted he must rediscover his form for the run-in.
"I'm delighted with my goals against Villa, but at times it was not good enough from myself," Rooney said. "I was disappointed with that and I have to put it right.
"Obviously, I'm happy with the goals, but the rest of my play wasn't great. We were disappointed with our performance against Wigan but Villa was a chance to get it out of our systems. We had to try and keep that distance of five points between us (and City), so it was a big game for us."
Despite his below-par performances in recent weeks, Rooney can eclipse his career-best haul of 34 goals in a season, set in 2009-10, by scoring four times in United's remaining four games.
He is one goal short of moving to joint fourth in United's all-time goalscoring charts and joining George Best and Dennis Viollet on 179, and he admits he is determined to pass both personal milestones before the end of the season.
"Of course it would be great to do that and surpass George Best," Rooney said.
"It will be a great achievement which I'll be proud of. Hopefully it will happen before the end of the season.
"I just have to keep myself focused on my game because it's the points which are important, but if I can score the goals to get those points then I'll be delighted.
"If you look back a month or six weeks ago, if someone had said we'd be five points clear at this stage of the season we'd have been delighted.
"So next Sunday against Everton is a massive game. We need to get three points and it will then make an interesting night at City."
If United defeat David Moyes's team at Old Trafford, they will travel to the Etihad Stadium eight days later knowing a victory will confirm the club's 20th league title.
Should City fail to win at Wolves on Sunday afternoon, a draw at the Etihad will be enough for United to claim the title.
Roberto Mancini's team remain in pursuit of United, however, and their superior goal difference could yet prove decisive if they are able to beat Ferguson's men on Monday, April 30.