Rooney: United ready to challenge
Wayne Rooney enjoyed a double celebration at Hull on Boxing Day and then declared Manchester United ready to "surprise a few people" in the second half of the season.
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Rooney was able to reflect on a hard-fought victory as well as his 150th Premier League goal for the Red Devils and he had something special up his sleeve for the occasion.
His strike - a deft first touch followed by a stunning 30-yard volley - was a supreme example of technique and execution and a fitting way to bring up his landmark.
Rooney's effort brought United level at 2-2 inside 25 minutes after Hull had established, then lost, an early two-goal lead.
The man who opened the scoring, Hull's former United defender James Chester, then settled matters when he unintentionally put Ashley Young's cross past his own goalkeeper midway through the second half.
Rooney and company had largely been written off after losing five of David Moyes first 15 games in charge this term, but now lie just five points off the top four.
And the England striker, speaking to Sky Sports 1 after the match, said: "I think we had some poor results at the start of the season but we are starting to show some real quality.
"In the last few weeks we are having a go. We are working hard, we are fighting for each other and we are ready for the challenge.
"Hopefully, we can surprise a few people."
The 28-year-old gave a more prosaic account of his own key contribution to the result, adding: "The ball's bounced nicely for me and I've had a go.
"It was a good goal for us at a good time of the game."
Moyes doffed his cap to Rooney, who has so often been the side's star man when it counted this term, and insisted he never felt out of the game even with a two-goal deficit.
"Wayne played great because he had to do two or three different jobs to do," said Moyes.
"They tell me that's his 150th Premier League goal today and to score one like that, a nice volley, was really well taken.
"The pressure he put on the boy for the own-goal was great too, to get it out wide and get in the box."
Hull boss Steve Bruce, who has never beaten the club he captained as a player in 15 years of management, was left feeling for Chester.
The centre-half started his career as a United trainee, making a solitary appearance in the League Cup, and initially seemed on course for a dream performance against his old employers.
"It could have been his day in many ways," said Bruce.
"He was at Man Utd from 10 or 11 years old and he'll have cherished playing against them and scoring after four minutes to give us the lead.
"Then he's headed one the wrong way, it happens. It'll be one he remembers for a long, long time.
"He's like all of us, disappointed. But he's a very good young player and he'll get over it."