London - Wayne Rooney guided Manchester United into the Premier League's top
six for the first time since November with a goal in a 2-0 win at
Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Twenty-four hours after penning a new
five-and-a-half-year contract reportedly worth an incredible £85 million, Rooney added to Robin van Persie's
penalty to seal victory at Palace.
United manager David Moyes has
been unhappy with some of the decisions that have gone against his side
this season, but there were no arguments about the foul on Patrice Evra
by Marouane Chamakh that yielded the visitors' penalty.
Persie's clinical spot-kick eased the pressure on United, after an hour
of frustration that had seen the fit-again Marouane Fellaini spurn a
glorious chance just before half-time.
Then, six minutes later,
Rooney made an instant repayment on his monster deal to bludgeon Evra's
cross beyond Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni on the half-volley.
left Moyes's side eight points behind fourth-placed Liverpool, who face
Swansea City on Sunday, in the race for Champions League qualification.
remain just two points above the relegation zone, but manager Tony
Pulis will know that games such as this are unlikely to decide his
United returned from a warm-weather training camp in
Dubai prior to the game and the visitors showed few signs of jetlag in
the opening exchanges at a fired-up Selhurst Park.
made a bright start, dragging an early shot off-target, and the
19-year-old would have broken the deadlock in the 17th minute had he not
used his left arm to control the ball before firing past Speroni.
side of the Belgian starlet's early contribution, Rooney was on the
receiving end of abuse from the home faithful at corners.
his bumper contract was not enough, the England ace -- who was making
his 300th league appearance for United -- even had Palace supporters
throwing their money at him.
He then came close to putting United
ahead, only for Damien Delaney to superbly head his clipped cross off
the line before Nemanja Vidic nodded over from three yards.
goalkeeper David de Gea had little involvement, but the Spanish
shot-stopper produced a sharp save to turn Jonathan Parr's deflected
header around his near post.
Moyes saw Fellaini waste a golden chance two minutes before the break when he fired high and wide from 14 yards.
one excuse for the Belgian midfielder was his lack of match action, as
he was appearing in a United shirt for the first time since facing his
former club Everton on December 4 at Old Trafford.
patient though, and that was rewarded when Januzaj's pass found the
onrushing Evra, who beat Chamakh to the ball and went down under the
forward's clumsy challenge.
Van Persie stepped up to send Speroni the wrong way before Rooney applied the gloss to a professional display.
celebrated Rooney's effort like a man who knew the job had been done
and moments later it could have been 3-0 when Van Persie smashed a shot
against Speroni's crossbar.