MANCHESTER, Sporting Alert – Wayne Rooney scored his 249th goal Manchester United in the FA Cup against Reading on Saturday to equal Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time club record, while Marcus Rashford netted a brace in the Red Devils’ 4-0 win.
ROONEY WILL GET RECORD – JOSE
Rooney, who returned to the starting lineup at Old Trafford, put the Red Devils ahead in the seventh-minute when he guided home a clipped pass from Juan Mata.
“I think it’s just a question of time to score one more goal and become in the history of Manchester United,” winning manager Jose Mourinho said about Rooney going for the record.
“It’s arriving; the big moment for him is arriving. It’s amazing because everybody knows who Sir Bobby [Charlton] is and what he means for the history of the club and English football and, for Wayne to score the same number of goals for Manchester United, is fantastic.”
Speedy forward Anthony Martial skillfully slipped past two Reading defenders inside the 18-yard box before passing to Mata, who floated a ball for Rooney to guide home off his knee.
Martial added to the Manchester United scoresheet to make it 2-0 after 15 minutes of action.
The Frenchman played a nice one-two with Rooney before darting into the box and side-footing the ball calmly into the far corner.
“[Anthony Martial] played very well against Middlesbrough but, because he was not playing for a long time, him and myself felt that 48 hours later against West Ham it was better not to start so, today, he was fresh and again very objective playing against a good player,” Mourinho said.
“[Chris] Gunter is a good right-back and he performed very well again but I think [of] everybody, we could name lots of players, we could name [Marouane] Fellaini, we could name so many of them, but, overall, the team collectively played well again and we created lots of chances.”
RASHFORD GRABS BRACE FOR MAN UNITED
The defending FA Cup champions added two more goals in the second half with young forward Rashford getting both of them.
Rashford made it 3-0 in the 75th minute and then added a quick fourth four minutes later, following a horrible mistake by Reading goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi.
The 19-year-old scored his first of the game when he coolly finished off a wonderful pass from Michael Carrick which skipped just out of reach of Reading defender Gunter.
He grabbed his brace and Manchester United’s fourth after Al Habsi messed up what should have been a routine clearance and it allowed the England striker to blast into an empty net.
Manchester United made several changes to the starting lineup and played without the likes of David de Gea, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba but Mourinho said everyone played like true professionals.
“It was very professional, I could feel it from the first minute, there were two big chances already to score” the Portuguese said.
“The team was intense, the team was dynamic, playing well and then obviously, as we expected, they are good with the ball so when we give them the chance to have the ball, they had it and they moved the ball, created not big chances but some attacking football and for a long time the game was still open at 2-0. I’m really happy with our attitude.
“It just confirmed what I knew already (about the squad). People are very professional, people train so well and because they train so well they can come here and perform the way they did.
“They train very well, they have a big desire to play, they are very good friends in-between them so they are always positive and when someone is not playing, he’s motivating another one and waiting for their opportunity. Everybody that played gave a very good answer but it is no surprise to me.”
MAN UNITED BACK TO BEST
Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam returned to Old Trafford as the manager of Reading and he believes Mourinho is well on course to succeed in areas that his fellow Dutchman and ex-United manager Louis van Gaal struggled.
“They’ve got a certain mentality now,” Stam said.
“If you start winning games the belief is getting bigger and bigger with individuals. He’s the type of manager – and he’s proven it in the past – he stands for his group, he gives them confidence. He knows how to play and what they need to do to get results. Eventually he gets them.
“When you look at Van Gaal, and I still think he’s a great manager, he tried to play in a certain way as well and it’s not much different than how they play now.
“But it’s also for a manager what can you give yourself to the team, how can you make players better, give them a certain belief that they are willing to preform for you and preform together. That’s one of his many qualities.”