Wayne Rooney has revealed that he and his Manchester United team-mates were aware that Manchester City are “not the best at tracking back and defending” before Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford.
United ran out 4-2 winners over Manuel Pellegrini’s side, with many City players criticised for their lack of work ethic.
And Rooney has claimed that Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal had notified his players of that particular weakness in the build-up to the game.
“We know some City players are not the best at tracking back and defending and tracking runners and we felt we could make them pay for that and we did,” Rooney said.
“We have got players who can score goals from midfield and to be honest we felt that was going to win us the game and it was proved to be.”
Marouane Fellaini was a thorn in City’s side all afternoon, and gave United a 2-1 lead in the 27th minute.
The Belgian endured a difficult first season at Old Trafford last term but has become one of the key men in Van Gaal’s revived side, and Rooney was full of praise for the former Everton man.
“He is getting used in the right way,” Rooney added. “He is a handful for defenders to mark. We like to play out from the back and if teams are pressing us then we have him as an option.
“He is probably the best in world football at bringing the ball down and getting us out of that pressure and further up the pitch. He is being used in the right way by the manager and he is repaying the manager with goals and good performances.
“Last year was awful for him but in fairness he kept his head down worked hard and come through that tough period. He is showing now what he did at Everton and why Manchester United bought him. He is a quality player. He is a different option for us. It is starting to show on the pitch.
“It was tough for him but he had the whole team’s support. We knew he was working hard and it wasn’t just him struggling last season a lot of us were. He was the one who took most of the blame for it. It was hard for him. Thankfully the manager has shown faith in him.
“He is big and he is strong and always a goal threat which he is showing now. He is awkward to mark. It is great for him and we hope it continues.”