Wayne Rooney reveals tactics that led to derby victory
Effective tactical plan based on defensive limitations of the champions, says Rooney
Used the right way: Marouane Fellaini celebrates scoring on Sunday. Photograph: Darren Staples/Reuters
Yaya Touré was criticised by TV pundit Gary Neville for a “complete dereliction of duty”. Although Rooney did not name the City midfielder, he said of a team who also included Fernandinho, James Milner, David Silva and Jesus Navas: “We know some of the City players are not the best at getting back and defending and tracking runners, and we felt we could make them pay for that.”
Marouane Fellaini, who scored United’s second goal and had a hand in two others, dominated Touré to continue his resurgence under Louis van Gaal.
Rooney said: “He’s getting used in the right way. He’s a handful for defenders to mark. As you can see, we like to try to play out from the back, but if teams are pressing us, it is an option for us, and he’s probably the best in world football at bringing the ball down, getting us out of that pressure and getting us further down the pitch. So the manager is using him in the right way and he is repaying the manager with goals and good performances.”
Dismal symbolDavid Moyes
“In fairness to Felli, he kept his head down, worked hard, and he’s come through that tough period and is showing what he was doing at Everton and why Manchester United bought him,” said Rooney. “He is a quality player, he is a different option for us and, happily, it is starting to show on the pitch.”
Rooney said United are confident of denting Chelsea’s title bid at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. United are eight points behind Chelsea, who have a match in hand.
City followed Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in being direct rivals defeated by United recently, and the match against Chelsea holds no fear for Van Gaal’s team.
“We’re confident, we’re on a good run of form, we’ve beaten some very good teams in the last few games,” Rooney said.
“It is a big test for us. Chelsea are top of the league. We will work and prepare on the training pitch and we’ll be ready for the game.”
“Chelsea are in a very commanding position, so we have to just keep trying to win our games,” Rooney said. “I think we are playing nice football, we are winning games and we have to continue that to the end of the season, finish as high up as we can and then hopefully take that form into next season.”
United’s progress is illustrated by the club heading the mini-league of the top seven sides, with six wins, two draws and two defeats. “In some ways, there is more space in those bigger games because those teams like to come and attack,” Rooney said. “We certainly felt [against City] we could capitalise on that. We’ve found it tough when some teams have sat back, so that’s something we need to work on.”
Rooney warned that United are not the finished article. “We’re still a work in progress, learning certain things as well,” he said.
“It’s great we’re winning games, and the performances we are showing, but we have to continue that.”