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14 Feb 2011

Wayne Rooney savoured the plaudits for his wonder-goal against Manchester City and then dedicated his strike to the Old Trafford faithful.

The England international produced an astonishing piece of skill to settle the Manchester derby 2-1 in United's favour with his sublime 78th minute overhead kick.

Rooney later admitted it was the best goal of his career, and manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he had not seen a better technical strike at the home of the Red Devils.

It was a rare high point in what has been a season of struggle for the United forward, with a loss of form, off-field concerns and a contract wrangle all placing him under the spotlight.

"The Manchester United fans deserve that from me," Rooney said.

"I haven't had the best of seasons and I know how big this game is in Manchester, so I hope they enjoyed that.

"Now the aim is to keep scoring and help us get that title back."

United remain four points ahead of nearest challengers Arsenal as they target a record 19th top-flight title, but now boast an eight-point advantage over City with the further benefit of a game in hand.

"We are the team to catch. We know how it feels to be top of the league and to get over that finish line," Rooney added.

"We have the experience with the manager and the players and we know what we have to do.

"Hopefully within the next six or seven games, we can maintain that gap, or make it bigger."

Didn't penetrate

And Rooney rejected suggestions that Roberto Mancini's expensively-assembled squad were unfortunate to leave Old Trafford with nothing to show for their efforts.

"I don't think they were that unlucky," continued Rooney. "They played OK. They moved the ball well at times. But they didn't hurt us. They didn't penetrate us.

"Other than the Silva chance in the first half, they didn't really have a clear chance.

"We had two or three. Based on that, we deserved to win."

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