Rooney hits back at critics: I've only had one bad game

The England captain has been panned for three goalless performances at the head of the Manchester United attack but remains confident he will re-find his scoring touch

GOALBy Peter Staunton 
Wayne Rooney insists he has only played one bad game this season as Manchester United's main striker and is hoping to silence his critics by ending his goal drought against Newcastle on Saturday.

Restored to the focal point of United's attack following the summer departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao, many have suggested that Rooney has looked off the pace and failed to carry the goal threat of past years, failing to score or consistently get himself into dangerous positions against Tottenham, Aston Villa and Club Brugge.

But despite being upstaged by new signing Memphis Depay in United's 3-1 Champions League play-off victory over the Belgian side on Tuesday, Rooney insists he was only disappointed with his performance against Villa and remains confident that his scoring touch will return soon.

"I've had one bad game this season and everyone's all over it," he told reporters. "I know - I've had that throughout my career but hopefully at the weekend I can get off the mark.

"I'm an honest guy. I know when I don't play well and against Aston Villa I was below my standards. I know that. I thought I had a good game [against Brugge], I could have had a goal or two, but that's football. It was a great night for us, obviously, getting the victory and hopefully we'll kick on from there.

"It's early on in the season. Three games in, it's time for me to keep going. I've experienced this before and the goals will come, I know that.

"My mind's clear. I know how to play the role. It's just a case of getting the chances and taking them which I'm hopefully going to do soon."

Rooney's last competitive goal for United came in a 3-1 Premier League win over Aston Villa on April 4, but ahead of the Brugge match a bullish Van Gaal backed his captain to break his scoring drought.

"All the media has written for one year that I have to put him in the striker’s position, so it’s amazing that after two games you are doubting your own opinions,” the United boss told reporters.

“I cannot understand that. I have always confidence in my players."