Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is better when he plays with aggression, according to his manager David Moyes.
The 28-year-old, who has been in fine form this season, picked up a yellow card for kicking out at Cardiff City's Jordan Mutch during Sunday's 2-2 draw.
Rooney admitted that it was a bad tackle, but Moyes defended his player after the match, telling BBC Sport: "There was a bit of a tussle but I don't think it deserved any more than a yellow card."
Now, ahead of tonight's Champions League clash against Bayer Leverkusen, the Scot admits he would always prefer a fired-up Rooney playing in his team.
“I don’t want to change Wayne Rooney, that’s for sure,” Moyes told reporters. “I don’t want him to be kicking at anybody, but I want him aggressive, challenging and full of running.
“There will always be times when players have little bits when they don’t always quite go for them, and on that occasion [at Cardiff], Wayne was probably a little bit fortunate, but I still think the referee made the right decision.
“I want Wayne to have fire in his belly. I think he plays better when he’s tough and aggressive.
“And I think at the moment we’re seeing a really good Wayne Rooney, who is in top form and scoring goals as well."
Rooney has netted seven goals in 14 appearances this season - and Moyes believes his good form is down to that aggressive streak returning to his game.
“It’s a big part of his game. He’s an aggressive player, he plays with his heart, as well as the skills he’s got in abundance," the Red Devils' boss added.
“That’s a big part of what he is. It’s the way he was when he was a boy at Everton with me.
“A lot of people said that might have been missing from his game last season – it’s certainly not missing now.
“He’s got the hunger back and the desire back and he’s committed for everything. I’d rather have a Wayne Rooney that way than any other way.”
United can secure qualification for the Champions League knockout stages by beating Bayer Leverkusen this evening.
And with Robin van Persie set to miss the match through injury, Rooney will be under more pressure to inspire the team in Germany.