Wayne Rooney was back in training as the striker and his club looked to draw a line under his recent disciplinary issue with Sir Alex Ferguson.
Striker and United look to draw line under disciplinary issue
Wayne Rooney was back in training with Manchester United on Monday as the striker and his club looked to draw a line under his recent disciplinary issue with Sir Alex Ferguson.
It is understood that Ferguson did fine Rooney and Republic of Ireland international Darron Gibson, before forcing the pair to train on their day off last week after an ill-advised evening out on Boxing Day.
Neither the club nor the player's representative wished to elaborate on the matter, nor even to confirm Rooney was axed from Saturday's 3-2 shock defeat to Blackburn as part of his punishment.
And now it has been dealt with, it seems the matter is now closed, or at least all parties have no wish to fuel it, realising United need to regain their focus after being granted a Premier League reprieve thanks to Sunderland's late win over leaders Manchester City, who remain ahead only on goal difference.
It at least provided an upbeat ending to an eventful 70th birthday weekend for Ferguson - who, prior to the Blackburn game, confirmed his intention to remain at Old Trafford for another three years.
He will need Rooney, and to a lesser extent Gibson, on Tyneside against Newcastle as his team look to bounce back from a rudderless performance at the weekend that was condemned by 19-year-old Phil Jones.
"Too slow, too laboured," he said.
"Our downfall was coming back too soon. We thought we had won it and we eased off. They punished us. On the manager's birthday as well."
Ferguson pointedly avoided any criticism of David de Gea directly but after putting together a string of decent performances, the young keeper's failure to cope with the high ball which led to Grant Hanley's winner was a throwback to his shaky early displays.
On Friday, Ferguson said De Gea would be in goal for the matches against Blackburn and Newcastle.
But Anders Lindegaard has conceded just once in seven outings and Ferguson must be tempted to make an immediate change.
"That third goal was a killer," admitted the United boss. "But we need to recover now.
"We are coming to a crucial part of the season and we want to make sure we come back from Newcastle with a proper result."