Wayne all fired up!
WAYNE Rooney is poised to shoot the lights out as United prepare for action on four fronts in the New Year. The champions are second in the Premier League, have a Carling Cup semi-final double header starting with City next week, an FA Cup home third round tie with Leeds on Sunday and the last 16 Euro clash with AC Milan in February. They go into the assault with the England striker well on target to beat his best-ever campaign goal haul having registered 14 hits to date. In the 2006-07 term Rooney struck 23 goals in the campaign but had only notched up eight by the New Year and they were all accumulated in just four matches from 24 appearances. His tally this season has been accrued in 10 scoring games from 22 appearances. "Wayne was fantastic on Sunday at Hull," says manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "That was the Rooney we know. He had a quiet spell for two or three matches but he was explosive on Sunday. "That is the kind of form we hope we can have off him. When he is in that form he is hard to handle. "Strikers always have personal targets. They always want to get to a certain number of goals and Rooney will want to beat his best. "I used to have bets with Dwight Yorke every year and I had to pay out a couple of times. I think it is good players have personal targets but not forgetting the fact they are a team player. "Wayne can step forward and be the main man. But there are a few who have to step forward in that respect." Respect Dimitar Berbatov is certainly one who will heed that challenge from the Reds boss. The Bulgarian international's goal at the KC Stadium last weekend was only his fifth of the season. His appearances have been restricted by a knee complaint that Fergie insists will not require surgery. "He came through a full game against Hull. We have been treating him carefully in the way we have used him because we know that we needed him in the important part of the season which is the second part. "We have been treating it quite carefully in the number of games he's had. But on Sunday he felt fine. Hopefully that is it gone now." Despite losing Cristiano Ronaldo's goal potency to Real Madrid, the Reds are still a major attacking force. "We have scored more goals than we did last season at this stage," added Fergie pointing to statistics of 40 league goals scored after 19 played this term as opposed to 32 last year. United's goal spread has also eased the loss of Ronaldo, who scored 26 last term, with 14 seniors contributing to the Reds tally. "It is the old saying, `give me a goal from anywhere'. They are all weighing in from different positions so why worry?" said the United manager. "We made the point that the midfield had to chip in with a few and we have done reasonably well that way. "The important thing is to win your games but goal difference could come into it. We are seven goals behind Chelsea and two behind Arsenal in terms of goal difference. It is not catastrophic. It can be caught. "The important thing is we will always make chances. We want players to apply themselves and keep their concentration levels so they keep the scoring threat."
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