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Rooney slams defence

WAYNE ROONEY has warned his Manchester United team-mates they must stop falling behind in games after another scare.

Despite Alex Ferguson's insistence it would not happen again, United conceded the first goal in last night's 2-1 Champions League win over CFR Cluj.

It was the sixth time this season it has happened, and the fourth occasion Ferguson's team have managed to turn the game around in their favour.

But, with a trip to Newcastle looming on Sunday, Rooney feels it is time United ended their tendency to suffer early setbacks.

"It does bother us having to come from behind because we are losing those early goals," said Rooney.

"It is not nice and it is something that we have to stop because we cannot afford to keep letting teams get a head start on us, especially in the Champions League because it is difficult to win the game anyway.


"We have to make sure we are more solid and hopefully we can be in future games."

Starting in the same team as Robin van Persie for the first time, Rooney excelled in a deeper role than usual and created both goals for his Dutch team-mate, who took his tally since joining Arsenal to six.

Van Persie's second, four minutes after half-time, was the pick, a delicate left-footed finish to Rooney's cross that had his manager purring.

"The second goal was fantastic," said Ferguson. "It was a great ball from Wayne. I thought he had hit it too far in front of him. But the speed to get to the ball and his deftness of touch were fantastic."

Ferguson conceded there was an element of luck about the equaliser, which looped off the former Arsenal man's shoulder.

Nevertheless, Van Persie and Rooney both gave very satisfying contributions.

"The best quality both of them have is that they can turn a game," said Ferguson.

"That is an important feature. It doesn't really matter if they have a personal combination, it is their ability to finish moves off, whether it is through (Tom) Cleverley, Nani or (Antonio) Valencia.

"We have a pair of really top players who can finish and change a game."

The additional piece of good news was that Jonny Evans, who was necessarily replaced by Scott Wootton in the latter stages, is likely to be available for the trip to Tyneside.

"It is a dead leg," said Ferguson. "He got injured on Saturday and had a recurrence of that. He has five days to recover for Sunday. Hopefully he will be okay."

Van Persie heaped praise on Rooney's contribution before admitting that he is now targeting more assists to go with the goals he has already delivered at United.


"Everything starts with a good pass, so I have to thank Wayne for that (second goal)." Van Persie said.

"Not many players can make a pass like that. When it came to him, I knew he could see that pass and give it the way I wanted it.

"I think it is the first time we have started together, we were both really pleased with that. We did it together tonight.

"But I would like to make more assists. It is not only about goals but I want to make more assists. I would like to improve that."