Rooney relishing Boxing Day test
Wayne Rooney has warned Newcastle he is relishing the chance to get back to his best form on Boxing Day after his Swansea disappointment.
The England striker failed to fire on all cylinders in Sunday's 1-1 draw, proving wasteful in possession and ineffective in front of goal. One stray pass in particular, which should have teed up Javier Hernandez for a winner but was easily intercepted by Chico Flores, was the final straw for furious United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, and Rooney was hauled off shortly after.
The striker is glad the crowded festive fixture list will give him a rapid chance to make amends, starting when Alan Pardew's Magpies visit Old Trafford, and he said: "I think the thing about football, and especially over the Christmas period, is that you have games and this game has gone for me and it is certainly not one I will remember, but I will relish the next one."
He added: "I could feel it (was not going to be my day) on the pitch. Some days you have an off day I could feel that and I couldn't complain at being substituted.
"The position we are in at the minute, it is a great opportunity to make that gap at the top of the table even bigger."
United hold a four-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table after their first draw of the season and Rooney is targeting back-to-back wins against Newcastle and West Brom as the Red Devils look to extend their advantage over local rivals Manchester City.
"We are still in a good position with two home games coming up," Rooney added. "We need to make sure we take maximum points from them. We know it's early days and there is a long way to go, but we are in a healthy position at the moment so we need to try and keep on."
United have conceded 25 league goals already this season, but they had the welcome boost of captain Nemanja Vidic making his first start for three months against Swansea.
"It was good to see him get 90 minutes," Rooney said.
"He has been out for a while and he has been working hard in the gym and at the training ground. He is a great defender and great to have in the team and a great leader. We have a few players in the team who can lead from the back or the front and he is our captain and does that."