Slowly-slowly-catchy-monkey for United grins Rooney
Published 22:30 12/03/12 By David McDonnell
Wayne Rooney has fingered patience and belief as the key factors in Manchester United's return to the top of the Premier League.
United had spent five months - with the exception of a 24-hour spell in February - in second place behind local rivals Manchester City.
But their 2-0 win over West Brom on Sunday, coupled with City’s simultaneous 1-0 shock defeat at Swansea, has seen Sir Aex Ferguson’s side nose one point in front with 10 games left.
Rooney, who took his goal tally for the season to 26 with his brace against the Baggies, identified the qualities that have enabled United to win on the day and seize the initiative in the title race.
“Sometimes you need to keep your head and keep your patience,” said the England striker. “We managed to do that, create a few chances and thankfully I got the goal before half-time which settled us.
“It’s great credit to the team for the hard work and spirit we’ve shown to keep tallying up those points.”
Rooney revealed how the reaction of the Old Trafford crowd told United’s players than Swansea were on their way to a surprise win over City.
“We knew Swansea had scored,” he said. “We didn’t know if it was 1-0 or 2-0, but we knew they’d scored.
“We just had to stay focused and make sure we kept playing our game and see the game out.
“There’s a long way to go, but it’s nice to get to the top of the league and be looking down. Hopefully we can stay there now.”
Rooney feels Sunday's win was a potentially seismic moment in the context of the title race.
“West Brom made it difficult for us,” he said. “They got a lot of men behind the ball.
“Getting the goal in the first half helped settle us down and we could have scored a lot of goals, but the most important thing was the three points.
“We had chances and were just thinking ‘We need to take one’. Anything can happen - they can have a half-chance or a breakaway.
“We knew we needed to get that second goal.
"It was vitally important we did that and then, from there, we really saw the game out.”