Alex Ferguson gives Wayne Rooney share of praise

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson made sure Wayne Rooney took a share of the acclaim after Dimitar Berbatov's five-goal blast against Blackburn.

Bulgarian Berbatov ended a 10-game run without a goal in spectacular fashion in United's 7-1 trouncing of Sam Allardyce's men at Old Trafford, following former United striker Andy Cole, Alan Shearer and Jermain Defoe by becoming the fourth player to hit five goals in a Premier League game.

While Berbatov described it as "a great honour" to be in such company, Ferguson was quick to congratulate both the hero of the hour and strike partner Rooney, who is still searching for his first goal in open play since September.

Although Berbatov's contribution was the most note-worthy, Ferguson said: "He and Wayne were fantastic today.

"They were a constant threat. Their movement, passing and one-twos. It was a top performance by both of them.

"They have an understanding from the previous two years. It is very pleasing to get that."

Whether the pair continue their partnership tomorrow at West Ham remains to be seen.

United travel to Upton Park for their Carling Cup quarter-final and Ferguson is likely to make changes, although he has recently made the point that Rooney needs plenty of game-time under his belt to gain full match fitness.

The other United goals on Saturday came from Park Ji-sung and Nani, with Christopher Samba getting a consolation for humbled Blackburn, who Allardyce admitted were "completely outplayed".

Although West Ham remain bottom of the Premier League, they are improving and that was confirmed by Saturday's 3-1 home win against Wigan.

Goals from Valon Behrami, Victor Obinna and Scott Parker earned the points, and manager Avram Grant hailed captain Parker for playing, and starring, despite reporting in sick.

Grant enthused: "He always gives it 100%, he was sick but came in and wanted to push to play, and scored a fantastic goal.

"He did unbelievable things and is the modern midfield player - wins balls, blocks shots, scoring goals, giving assists. What more can you say?"

Wigan have remained in the London area in anticipation of their Carling Cup clash with Arsenal tomorrow evening.

That looks a foreboding task for Roberto Martinez's team, who have the fewest goals of all in the Premier League and a porous defence.

Arsenal are in scoring form too, after beating Aston Villa 4-2 on Saturday with goals from Andrey Arshavin, Samir Nasri, Marouane Chamakh and Jack Wilshere.

They were without the injured Cesc Fabregas and could rest some senior men tomorrow, but Wenger is delighted by his squad, saying: "No matter who plays, I feel we can produce good team play."

Stoke manager Tony Pulis hailed the collective spirit of his players after Matthew Etherington hit a late equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

City went ahead through Micah Richards in the 81st minute, but the big-spending Eastlands outfit could not hold on, and Pulis said: "You can have all the money in the world and all the top players but you need to be a team."

West Brom face a cup date at Ipswich on Wednesday, and could hardly have prepared better after drubbing Everton 4-1 at Goodison Park, with Paul Scharner, Chris Brunt, Somen Tchoyi and Youssouf Mulumbu netting.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo raved: "I thought we played some fantastic football, we didn't show any fear."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy brushed off speculation about his job security following a 3-2 home win over Sunderland, and after substitutes Stephen Hunt and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake scored to help the hosts turn around a 2-1 deficit the Yorkshireman quipped: "I must be a great manager."

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish will be pleased his side have a home Carling Cup tie against Aston Villa on Wednesday - because they still cannot win away from St Andrew's.

Clint Dempsey grabbed an equaliser to cancel out Sebastian Larsson's opener as Birmingham drew 1-1 at Fulham on Saturday.

McLeish is not worried by the fact his team have not registered an away win this season, saying: "I couldn't care less. If we can keeping winning at home and take four points out of six every two games, I think we will be okay.

"Some day we will win away from home but nobody has discussed that at all."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas