Rashford scored the only goal of the game.

Wayne Rooney delivered motivational speech before Manchester derby

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Who was responsible for Manchester United’s tremendous 1-0 derby victory over Manchester City?

The 18-year-old match winner Marcus Rashford for his brilliant individual goal?

Manager Louis van Gaal for his excellent tactics and organisation for keeping out a usually free-scoring Manchester City side?


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Or man-of-the-match Chris Smalling for his brilliant defending to keep Sergio Aguero quiet?

It may not have been any of the above, actually.

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That’s because United captain Wayne Rooney, despite not playing, could have had the most important role in Sunday's victory with an inspirational rallying cry to his teammates before their clash with their Manchester rivals.

Manchester Evening News are reporting that Rooney, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, was invited into the away dressing room at the Etihad to deliver a rousing pre-match speech.

And it appears that Rooney’s motivational talk worked wonders with the United side looking a completely different team to the one we’ve seen in recent weeks.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League

Top-four hopes

The win, given to them by Rashford, means they have handed themselves a brilliant opportunity to achieve a top-four finish this season.

The Red Devils are now just one point behind their neighbours in the quest for qualification into next season’s Champions League.

Rooney’s effective team talk wasn’t the first time he’s rallied the troops before a big match.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

Last season, Rooney is believed to have delivered a similar speech at the same stage of the campaign before United’s match against Tottenham in March.

Rooney asked manager Van Gaal to leave the changing room before his pre-match words.

It worked with his side running out 3-0 winners that night, a win which began a run to help seal a fourth-placed finish.

Not the first time

In an interview with Gary Neville at the end of the season, Rooney revealed why he had given the team talk against Spurs.


"I've done a few to be honest throughout the season, a few players spoke about one in particular (at home to Tottenham), we'd just got beaten in the FA Cup at home to Arsenal, so we were out of literally everything," he said, per Manchester Evening News.

"I asked the players if anybody wanted to speak up, if they had anything to say, so it was along those lines. We played well and won, so that got a bit of coverage.

"You knew what it was like, if you stood up there with everyone, it's a bit of banter but when I was speaking the lads were fully focused and listened and we went on a good run from there," he added.

Rooney will no doubt take inspiration from his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson who had a reputation for managing to get the best out of his players.

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Manchester United
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