WAYNE Rooney gave a short, sharp answer to some of his critics as he ended a personal goal drought with a smartly taken hat-trick to shoot Manchester United into the Champions League group stages.
Rooney fired a hat-trick to end a 10-match goalless run and dismiss any lingering threat from Club Brugge. And he then insisted he is strong enough to handle the critics.
Rooney, 29, was coming under increasing scrutiny after an indifferent start to the season but his goals helped fire United to a 4-0 win in the Champions League qualifier.
“If I didn’t have a strong character, that may have affected me, but I know my quality,” Rooney was quoted by BBC Sport. “If the goals don’t go in I still bring a lot to my team-mates.”
Rooney has been handed an out-and-out striker role this season without scoring before Wednesday night’s clash. But his manager, Louis van Gaal, had no doubt that his main forward would bounce back.
Van Gaal said: “It [the hat-trick] has given him always the confidence that a player needs. Wayne has a very strong mentality and with his level he shall always come back and he proved that.”
The BBC reported Rooney’s first goal was a little chip over goalkeeper Sinan Bolat; the second a simple side-foot effort before he swept in a third. Ander Herrera grabbed United’s fourth.
“I wasn’t worried. If it was going on for three, four, five games more then maybe, but it’s early days and I knew when the chances came I’d take them,” Rooney told BT Sport. “Everybody goes back to last season and it was so many games without scoring, but a lot of top quality strikers are yet to get off the mark at this stage.
“I understand because of my name and because of who I am it will get publicised a lot more. That’s my job and I understand that.”