LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney rose to second place on the all-time Premier League scoring list with a clever winner against Swansea City on Saturday.
The England captain ended a run of 553 minutes without a goal for his club by deftly flicking in Anthony Martial’s cross 13 minutes from time to secure a 2-1 triumph that ended a run of six league games without a victory for Louis van Gaal’s side.
Rooney climbed above former United forward Andy Cole with 188 goals following his instinctive finish, behind only Alan Shearer who netted 260 times for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
He also eclipsed Denis Law’s record of 237 United goals to move within 11 of Bobby Charlton’s all-time mark for the Old Trafford club.
“Special congrats to @WayneRooney for becoming the second highest scorer in @premierleague history. What a record,” United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said on Twitter.
Rooney, 30, scored his 50th goal for England last year to surpass Charlton’s international record.
United’s under-fire manager Van Gaal, however, was more focused on the importance of a result that lifted United to fifth in the table after a dismal run in December.
“I am very happy for the players because they had to play under big pressure and now we have won,” he told reporters.
“We are still near the top of the league and the gap is less. So that’s football.
“A season takes eight months or something like that and not one month.”
Van Gaal lost his previous three league games against Swansea, all 2-1, and when Gylfi Sigurdsson headed an equaliser for the visitors following Martial’s opener for United, a fourth defeat in a row by the Welsh side looked on the cards.
“I think we played a very risky system against Swansea because they had a shape with four midfielders in a diamond,” Van Gaal said.
United host Sheffield United in the FA Cup third round next Saturday.
“I hope this is a fantastic starting point for us in the New Year and we can continue against Sheffield United,” the Dutch manager added.
(Reporting by Ed Osmond; Editing by Tony Jimenez)