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Rooney in spot of bother with Fergie after penalty miss

ESPN staff
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Sir Alex Ferguson expressed his frustration at Manchester United's poor record from the penalty spot following Wayne Rooney's miss from 12 yards in their 1-0 win over West Ham.

Rooney, who scored the winner on his return from injury, blazed a spot-kick into the Stretford End in United's victory, which set up an FA Cup fourth-round tie against Fulham on January 26.

United have now missed the majority of their penalties this season, with Rooney the culprit twice and Robin van Persie, Javier Hernandez and Nani the others at fault in their five failures. Rooney has now missed 10 of 27 penalties he has taken for United.

Ferguson compared his own team's troubles from the penalty spot with some of the most successful penalty takers elsewhere.

"I don't think it's one of these things, I think we have to improve on that," he said. "There was talk about the boy [Rickie] Lambert at Southampton who has scored 31 out of 31. That's what penalty kick taking is all about.

"There are several great examples over the years. [Matt] Le Tissier, 47 out of 48. There was a player in Scotland played for Rangers [Johnny Hubbard], 57 in a row. Your penalty kick is your opportunity to take an advantage - whether it's a foul or a handball - of scoring a goal."

Hubbard was a striker in the 1950s who scored 65 times out of 68 from the spot at a time when Ferguson was a teenage Rangers fan.

Ferguson also hailed centre-backs Phil Jones and Chris Smalling for helping his team keep a clean sheet against the Hammers.

He added: "Absolutely brilliant, the two of them, absolutely marvellous. I couldn't be more pleased. They have been injured for a while so they needed games and today is going to help them. We have several other players who needed a game, Nani and Rooney and Anderson and [Alexander] Buttner so we have six players who have had a run out."

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