Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Wayne Rooney’s “terrific” display after the striker’s hat-trick helped United to an impressive 4-0 win at Bolton.
Rooney put the Reds 2-0 up after just 16 minutes, before completing his treble a minute from time to cap an excellent day for United.
“I thought the first 25 minutes in terms of our penetration and the chances we created was our best performance for two or three years,” declared Sir Alex afterwards. “I’m sure no-one else will come here and get that kind of result. Bolton have got such a good home record it’s difficult to even win here so I’m delighted.
“Wayne was terrific. Sooner or later it was going to happen,” added the United boss in reference to Rooney’s run of games without a goal. “We’re just delighted it’s happened now.
“I told him before the game to go out and enjoy it and keep looking for chances. When he got his first goal he just relaxed and got more confident and I was hoping every ball would land to him after that!
“His second was a great side-footer into the corner but for me the third goal was a great goal. As the ball was hit through he set himself so he could get a good look at the goalkeeper. It was an excellent finish.”
Aside from the Reds’ impressive attacking display, Sir Alex was also pleased with the team’s ability to hold firm at the back.
“Bolton gave it a real go in the second half and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the ball go into the box as much in my life – it was hard to watch at times,” Sir Alex told MUTV. “But Vida [Vidic] and Rio [Ferdinand] were absolutely superb, as was Edwin van der Sar who came for everything he could.
“We had to defend really well after half-time and that’s a great step forward for us because to win the league you need to do well defensively. You only need to go back to the days of Bruce and Pallister and Jaap Stam and Ronny Johnsen to see how important defending is and Vida and Rio.
“Chelsea have laid down a marker for everyone and we want to challenge them,” he added. “There’s a growing confidence within the club and as a group the players are looking really strong. It doesn’t matter which eleven I put out at the moment because they’re all in it together. There’s a great team spirit and through that I think we can have a really good go.”