FOOTBALL NEWS

12/11/2013 09:00, Report by Gemma Thompson

Neville hails Rooney

Gary Neville says he had a feeling Wayne Rooney would make the difference in Sunday's clash with Arsenal.

The striker was the overriding winner of the Man of the Match awards on Sky Sports and @ManUtd after an all-action display in the 1-0 victory. Rooney also set up Robin van Persie to net the winner against the Gunners, with Neville insisting the England international's display was one of the highest quality.

"I thought it would be Wayne Rooney’s day," he told ManUtd.com at an event to mark the extension of United's partnership with Saudi-based telecommunications giant STC. "I thought he would come to the fore and be a real powerhouse and give a big performance. He was joined by others of course, but he was the main man.

"It was a performance of desire and hard work and stopping Arsenal play. I’ve watched them a lot in the last few weeks and they just weren’t allowed to play on Sunday - that’s always the key to beating them. We thoroughly deserved to win."

The triumph means the Reds are now just five points behind the leaders with Neville adamant that United must now build on such a significant result: "The points situation was a big factor on Sunday. It was a must-win game. I felt we’d have been in big trouble in term of the title if we’d have lost," he explained.

“We’ve started slowly this season and yet we’re still within five points of the top of the league which is not a bad position to be in. We need to go on a 10/12-match unbeaten run now. Chelsea, Arsenal and [Manchester] City will probably be thinking the same but someone needs to grab things by the scruff of the neck. Hopefully it's us."

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