Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson praised his players after they regained their place at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 5-0 win over Portsmouth.

Wayne Rooney's 23rd goal of the season, equalling a career best, broke Portsmouth's resistance in the 40th minute and opened the floodgates as Nani and Michael Carrick both saw deflected efforts find the net along with a Dimitar Berbatov strike and a Marc Wilson own goal.

Ferguson said: "We had a lot of pressure and possession of the ball but we were patient enough. That's important when teams come and sit in the way they did here. Portsmouth were there to make it difficult but we got the goal just before half-time."

He added: "We were a bit fortunate with the second one. Nani beat his man and was trying to play a cross across the box.

"It got a deflection and went past James and into the net. It was fortunate but nonetheless you have to take them. That opened the game for us in the second half.

"We went looking for goals and managed to get three more, the one from Berbatov was brilliant."

Rooney has now scored seven goals in four games after sending a header beyond David James and was presented with the Barclays Premier League Player of the Month award before kick-off.

With Aston Villa next up on Wednesday, Ferguson said: "He is in great form.

"It was a great opportunity for us to give him a rest. We had fresh players to come on like Mame Diouf and Michael Owen."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
David James
Dimitar Berbatov
Football
Michael Owen
Premier League
Michael Carrick
Alex
Marc Wilson
Manchester United
Nani
Wayne Rooney
Aston Villa