Sir Alex Ferguson happy with Wayne Rooney apart from his lack of goals

Wayne Rooney

Sir Alex Ferguson has called on Wayne Rooney to start scoring more goals, with the striker managing three this season for Manchester United, one of those a penalty. Rooney has often been operating at the tip of the manager's new diamond formation where he has created six league goals, as many as Chelsea's Juan Mata, but behind Carlos Tevez's eight and Eden Hazard's nine.

Ferguson said: "I'm happy with that part of his game. It's no problem for me. He can contribute to the team's success fine but we would rather he scored more. He's going through a period that all strikers do, he's not scoring and it will change once he starts to score regular."

Robin van Persie's arrival from Arsenal means Ferguson no longer considers Rooney as only a striker. "With Van Persie coming, without doubt he [the Dutchman] is an up front player," the Scot said. "The players are now starting to realise what a good player he is. Hopefully that understanding gets better. There were some games where the way we kept possession was middle to wide, to middle to wide, without using the central area. There is more awareness about the runs he's making, the awareness he has up front."

After Saturday's trip to Reading for the late game, United host CFR Cluj having already won their Champions League group before next Sunday's derby with Manchester City, for which Ferguson is boosted by the return of Nemanja Vidic following a knee injury. "He started training during the week and did OK," Ferguson said. "He's not involved in the real competitive part but at least he's back with the first team which is good news. It would be nice to play him on Wednesday. I wouldn't be afraid of playing him. He's done all his work, he's just short of match practice."

Ferguson confirmed that Anders Lindegaard can expect to retain the goalkeeping jersey ahead of David de Gea, with the Dane set to make a fifth consecutive start despite the Spaniard, who cost £18.9m, being available following a recent dental issue. "Anders has come in and done well," Ferguson said. "It's one of those situations where there is no actual reason to leave Anders out in terms of form and hopefully David understands that."

Ferguson admitted that he has to choose soon between the two instead of alternating. "I'm not happy to do it all the time. That's why I've kept Anders in on Wednesday night [against West Ham United]," he said.

The manager does not expect Shinji Kagawa to return soon due to a knee injury that is taking longer to heal than expected. "It's been a slow one. He's a few weeks away yet," said Ferguson, who confirmed that Antonio Valencia's hip injury and Nani's hamstring problem also rule them out. "Nani is out for a long spell, maybe four or five weeks. Hamstrings you just need time with. Antonio should be fit for next week, and young Nick Powell had a virus in midweek but should be OK for Reading."

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jamie Jackson, for The Guardian on Friday 30th November 2012 23.02 Europe/London

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image: © Audrey Pilato

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