Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney insists his personal crusade to silence his critics has begun after assuming the status of the club’s leading goalscorer in European competition by netting against Feyenoord.
Rooney, whose off-field behaviour has hit the headlines in recent weeks after he was alleged to have partied late into the night and gatecrashed a wedding while on international duty, revelled in chalking up his 39th continental strike.
United’s rampant display means they need just a point from their final Group A match against Zorya Luhansk on 8 December to reach the last 32 of the Europa League.
“All that [the fuss] is created by people asking questions and making a big deal out of nothing,” said Rooney. “I didn’t even step foot into the wedding and it’s a shame I’m having to talk about it now after such a great victory.
“It’s a great feeling to score goals and to score goals for this club. I’m sure there are plenty more to come.”
The hosts opened the scoring 10 minutes before half time as Rooney collected a pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and showed calmness and composure before dinking the ball over the advancing Brad Jones.
A dominant wrapped up victory in the 69th minute as Ibrahimovic found Rooney, who played an incisive reverse pass to Mata and the 28-year-old slid the ball into an empty net.
Gloss was added to the scoreline with 16 minutes remaining as former Liverpool ad Middlesbrough goalkeeper made a complete hash of dealing with Ibrahimovic’s cross and diverted the ball into his own net with his heel.
England midfielder Lingard completed the scoring in stoppage time, applying a low, curling finish beyond Jones from an Antonio Valencia pass to ensure the healthiest win of the Jose Mourinho era.