Sir Alex Ferguson determined to address penalty kick problems

Wayne Rooney missed from the spot against West Ham

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was adamant his side must improve their penalty conversion rate after seeing them miss yet another spot-kick in tonight's 1-0 FA Cup third-round replay victory over West Ham.

Wayne Rooney's failed effort from the spot in this evening's contest at Old Trafford, blazed high over the bar in the 79th minute, leaves United with a record of five penalties scored and four missed for the season so far.

Asked about that after the game, Ferguson told MUTV: "I don't think it is just one of those things.

"I think we have to improve at that.

"If you get a penalty kick, really... there has been talk about (the good penalty record of) Rickie Lambert at Southampton. That is what taking penalty kicks is about.

"There have been several great examples over the years - (former Southampton midfielder) Matthew Le Tissier scoring 47 out of 48.

"A penalty kick is your opportunity to take advantage of a foul or a handball or whatever and score a goal."

The penalty miss made it a night of mixed fortunes for Rooney, who had scored what proved to be the only goal of the game in the ninth minute.

The England striker - back in action after sitting out United's last five matches due to a knee injury - turned in Javier Hernandez's square ball from close range, and after taking the congratulations of his team-mates, then paid his respects to his late sister-in-law, kissing his hands, looking to the skies and raising his arms as he walked back towards the halfway line.

United had chances to extend their advantage but could not take them and West Ham grew into the contest, particularly after the break.

The visitors had a penalty appeal for handball against Rafael waved away by referee Phil Dowd, who then awarded a spot-kick at the other end for a similar infringement by Jordan Spence, only for Rooney to waste the opportunity.

The Red Devils had done enough, though, to secure a place in round four, where they will host Fulham.

A stand-out performer for United was veteran Ryan Giggs, who wore the captain's armband in a team showing 10 changes from Sunday's Barclays Premier League win over Liverpool.

Referring to the 39-year-old midfielder after the game, Ferguson said: "He will play for another year.

"There is no discerning signs of tiredness or weakness in his game, his quality is still there, he has fantastic balance and he has appetite for it.

"He is just an incredible human being."

PA

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