Wayne Rooney ended his goal drought as Manchester United came from behind to beat Preston and set up a mouth-watering FA
After watching Bradford take their second Premier League scalp of the competition on Sunday, United were wary of falling victim
to another upset and they feared the worst when Scott Laird put Preston ahead.
But luckily for United manager Louis van Gaal, Ander Herrera equalised soon after and Marouane Fellaini poked home before Rooney scored a late penalty to give the Red Devils a 3-1 win.
Rooney, starting up front rather than in the midfield role he has occupied of late, looked threatening in the first half, working the channels, but was unable to test Preston goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann.
Rooney was not the only guilty party. Radamel Falcao put in yet another poor display and it did not come as a surprise when he was substituted for Ashley Young on the hour.
Van Gaal’s substitution proved crucial as Young set up Herrera for the equaliser. Fellaini, who was pushed up front following Falcao’s removal, then poked in from close range after a brave save from Stuckmann.
And then Rooney ended his seven- and-a-half week wait for a goal when he tucked away a penalty after being brought down in the box on a United break.
The display against League One opposition will have done little to silence Van Gaal’s critics, but the Dutchman will not care.
His team are now one step closer to ending the first year of his stewardship with a trophy – one that United have not won in 11 years.
And goalscorer Fellaini said: “We knew it would be very hard but we won today and that’s the most important. We changed the game, we know the quality of Ashley Young, he can cross and it was an important substitution.
“I like to play forward, I can score goals but the manager is the boss.”