Sir Alex Ferguson branded Wayne Rooney the new Paul Gascoigne after the controversial striker bagged two goals in Manchester United’s narrow 3-2 win over rivals Manchester City in the third round of the competition.
Ferguson was in no mood for pleasantries in his post-match interview, lambasting United for making City look ‘better than they were’ after his side took a three goal lead only to let their opponents back into the game through two second half goals.
The Scot appeared even less impressed with a mid-week newspaper report that suggested Rooney would be leaving Old Trafford after the England international was dropped for United’s shock 3-2 defeat against Blackburn in December.
Both the club and the player spoke out denying the claims following the report in The Independent, and Ferguson believes that the interest shown in Rooney by the media is reaching a level similar to that of the headline grabbing ex-England international.
“There's absolutely no problem with Wayne. What Wayne has got to realise is the press have got another (Paul) Gascoigne and he's got to suffer with that,” said the Scot.
"We have seen the good stuff today but any flaws will be absolutely annihilated by the press. That is what they are like. That is what we are dealing with. Today was a magnificent performance."
If Ferguson was impressed with Rooney’s efforts on Sunday, he remained less than pleased with the performance of his side as a whole after allowing City back into the game in the second half.
Vincent Kompany’s 11th minute sending off added to City’s woes as Rooney’s goals plus a well-taken volley from Danny Welbeck put the visitors 3-0 up at half-time, before efforts from Aleksander Kolarov and Sergio Aguero set up an exciting finish.
Ferguson admonished his side’s ‘careless’ performance in the second half, and suggested they should have been able to replicate City’s 6-1 win over United at Old Trafford in October.
"I think we made them better than they were," he commented.
"We were just so careless in the second half. At 3-0 up at half-time they thought they were through and took their foot off the peddle. It was a careless performance, we should have been home and dry. Fortunately we scrambled away with a victory. From a position where we should have battered them."