• Premier League

Rooney eyes title bid for 'resilient' Manchester United

ESPN staff
December 15, 2014
Are United title contenders?

Wayne Rooney is waiting for Chelsea to slip up in the title race and believes Manchester United are contenders to be crowned champions this season despite failing to reach peak form.

The 3-0 victory against Liverpool on Sunday was United's sixth in as many league games but, after dropping to 10th with their Manchester derby defeat, they have ground out results and climbed to third.

"We have to believe we can win the title," Rooney said. "We are eight points behind [leaders Chelsea] and coming into a busy period. If we can win our games and the others have one bad result then there is nothing there.

"We have been here before but we have a lot of new players and this is where the experience of myself, Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher can rub off on the other players.

"We have to keep winning our games and hopefully get back to the top and you never know. We have shown a great resilience.

"We won the league two years ago and we weren't great in a lot of those games but we got the results. Sometimes you have to do that. I have seen Chelsea a couple of times this season where they have not played great but have nicked it as well."

Rooney was echoing the words of manager Louis van Gaal and Carrick and confidence has clearly grown at United after their disappointing start to the season.

The captain's experience would be key to any serious title bid and appears to have also helped him work out the best way to prolong his career at the club.

Rooney has been used in a deeper position more often by Van Gaal this season and scored as a midfielder in Sunday's win against Liverpool.

He said: "It is a different system and a new position again for me this season but I have played it before. It is a different way of playing. I am enjoying it. I like to learn different roles and I think it will help me on the pitch and after football if I go into management. I am enjoying my football."

Rooney's former United and England team-mate Michael Owen rose to prominence as a teenager but retired at just 33, having rarely played first-team football after turning 30.

On his midfield role, Rooney added: "It can help me in years to come. You see top players like Michael Owen retire. He was one of the world's best players but I don't think he could drop back into midfield so, once his pace had gone through injuries, that was kind of the end.

"I feel I can drop back and I am sure it will give me an extra few years at the end of my career."

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