English Premiership

LVG hails Rooney's influence

2015-03-16 08:17
Wayne Rooney (AFP)

Manchester - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal refused to comment on Wayne Rooney's boxing antics, but praised his captain for helping to inspire his side to a crucial 3-0 win over Premier League top-four rivals Tottenham.

A Sunday newspaper story claimed that Rooney had been knocked out by former United defender Phil Bardsley in a supposedly friendly boxing bout at Rooney's house last month.

The England and United captain responded by throwing a flurry of punches and falling to the turf as if knocked down as he celebrated scoring the third goal against Tottenham which left the Londoners out for the count at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Van Gaal did not see the funny side of the story, saying: "In what a world we live that we are talking about such a thing - that a newspaper paid a lot for a video and I am answering questions about that. What is this world, twisted? I don't want to answer questions about such things."

But the Dutchman applauded Rooney for a speech he made to his team-mates the night before United produced their best performance of the season to overwhelm Tottenham and go five points clear of fifth-placed Liverpool, who play at Swansea on Monday before hosting van Gaal's men next weekend.

"The players know this game was of massive importance so I think a captain has to do something to help the players or help the manager or help the club. I was very pleased," van Gaal said.

"We have waited a long time for such a victory. The performance was very good against a very good team, so I am pleased.

"We played like a team and were very determined and it is nice after a defeat against Arsenal that you can do that in the next game like this, a massive important game against a competitor, so I am very pleased with the players.

"It is a rat race and we are now two points from the second position.

"We have to look step by step and the next game is Liverpool. I believe Manchester United has not won too often the games in Liverpool."

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