Wayne Rooney expressed his delight to have equalled Denis Law’s record of 237 goals for Manchester United as they ground out a win against CSKA Moscow.
Rooney’s header drew him level with Law, behind only Sir Bobby Charlton in the list of United’s top all-time goalscorers, but he conceded getting there against CSKA was no easy task.
”Denis Law is a legend at this club, so I’m delighted to equal his record,” he told BT Sport.
”It is difficult when teams come and defend with all their players, tough to break down.
“We had to keep grinding and digging, but we got the chance and the goal.
”We tried to get an early goal and once that doesn’t happen it becomes difficult, but we got the goal and the points and that is all that matters.”
Rooney’s form – and the way in which manager Louis van Gaal has utilised him – has been in the spotlight this season.
Here, Press Association Sport assesses how he fared across two positions in the 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow.
Van Gaal finally relented and stationed his captain in the pocket behind Anthony Martial.
That ensured a presence in the box when Rooney indulged his eagerness to drop deep in pursuit of the ball, but at times he was too divorced from the central striker.
On one occasion in the first half there were six red shirts ahead of Rooney as United attacked and just seconds later he was flagged offside playing on the defender’s shoulder.
The trail had gone cold when Van Gaal angered fans by removing Martial and throwing Rooney up front.
IN FRONT OF GOAL
Rooney positioned himself in the right place at the right time to head home Jesse Lingard’s delightful cushioned cross, winning the match for his side.
It was just as well he did. The decision to take off the young Frenchman and push Rooney forward was met with a chorus of boos from all four corners.
The pressure amplified when Rooney got his feet in a terrible tangle six yards from goal and failed to even muster a shot.
He screwed an early chance just wide but made amends with his emphatic winner.
A smart reverse pass for Lingard wrong-footed the CSKA defence and was weighted deftly enough to bring Igor Akinfeev dashing from his line to make a vital clearance.
Another instinctive touch at 1-0 gave Lingard a fine chance to kill the game.
He spread play well to the flanks when dropping to his deepest position around the halfway line.
Pace is no longer a factor in Rooney’s threat, and may not have been for some time. But he remains a willing runner, whether dropping deep to force himself into the game or getting on the end of the decisive goal. How much of his energy is well used remains an open question.
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