Rooney stars as Man Utd close in on knockout stages

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney became Manchester United’s record European goalscorer as they beat Feyenoord to keep their Europa League fate in their hands.

The Red Devils captain scored his 39th European goal for the club when he clipped the ball over Brad Jones from Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s perfect through ball – with Feyenoord appealing unsuccessfully for offside.

Rooney then set up Juan Mata to slide home the second.

The win was secured when former Liverpool keeper Jones deflected Ibrahimovic’s cross into his own net, and Jesse Lingard curled in a fourth in injury time to make it Jose Mourinho’s biggest win as United boss.

A draw or win at Zorya Luhansk in the final Group A game on Thursday, 8 December would take United into the last 32.

Group A

Mkhitaryan takes rare chance to impress

United’s £26m summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan was impressive on only his second start for the club.

Mourinho has said the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who had previously managed only 134 minutes for United, needs time to adapt to the “intensity and aggression” of the English game.

Admittedly against weaker opposition, he looked the part with an all-action performance playing centrally behind Ibrahimovic.

He linked up well with team-mates, and would have got on the end of a through ball from Rooney had the England captain not overhit it, after a slick one-touch passing move between the pair.

One of the game’s outstanding moments came when Mkhitaryan ran from his own half, taking on several Feyenoord defenders, before going down under pressure from Jens Toornstra. The Dutch champions were fortunate the referee did not give a free-kick, which would also have resulted in a red card.

The 27-year-old had six shots, including blocked efforts, and came off, alongside Rooney, to a standing ovation after 82 minutes.

“It was a pleasure to play again. It’s been very difficult watching the team from the side but you have to have passion and work hard to try and take your next chance,” he said. When asked if it was a new start, he said: “I hope so.”

The big question now is will the Armenian start against West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday?

Rooney closes in on Charlton record

Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney

Rooney, recalled in one of six changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal, had said he was “not finished yet” after criticism of his late night at a wedding on international duty.

He showed that with a goal to move within one of matching Sir Bobby Charlton’s club-record 249 goals, as well as beating Ruud van Nistelrooy’s European record.

He was economical with his shooting – his only effort the goal, a calm finish over the keeper after timing his run well.

But he had a big hand in United’s second goal too, his reverse pass for Mata taking the Feyenoord defence out of the equation and giving the Spaniard an easy finish.

Mkhitaryan more than doubles shots tally – stats

  • This was Feyenoord’s joint heaviest Uefa Cup/Europa League defeat. They lost 5-1 to Borussia Monchengladbach in 1986.
  • Henrik Mkhitaryan had a game-high six shots, two more than he had managed in his United career before this game.
  • Juan Mata has scored in consecutive games for United for the first time since September 2015.
  • United had 12 shots on target against Feyenoord, their most in a game in any competition this season.
  • That total is the joint-most by a team in a Europa League game this season.
  • Feyenoord have won just once of their past seven visits to England in European competition (D2 L4).
  • United are unbeaten in their past 14 European games at Old Trafford (including qualifiers), winning all three group-stage games this season.

Man of the match – Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

‘Just enjoy a few more years of Rooney’s career’

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho: “It was a similar performance to others we have had at home. We were dominant from the first moment, we created chances but this time we scored goals.

“People like him [Rooney] don’t need to answer any more, just enjoy a few more years of his career and playing the best he can. That’s what he tries to do. More important is the fact we need one point to qualify.”

Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst: “Four-nil is a big defeat. We could cope with Manchester United for 70 minutes, but after 70 minutes you could see the difference in quality.”

What’s next?

Manchester United host West Ham in their next two games – in the Premier League on Sunday (16:30 GMT), and the EFL Cup quarter-final on Wednesday (20:00 GMT).

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 20Romero
  • 25A Valencia
  • 4Jones
  • 17Blind
  • 23Shaw
  • 16Carrick
  • 6Pogba
  • 8Mata