December games key, says Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping Wayne Rooney's return to goalscoring form will keep Manchester United in the race for the Premier League title.

Rooney scored twice - the first time he has netted in the league since September - in the 4-1 win over Wolves

"Strikers go in bursts," Ferguson said. "Hopefully Wayne is on a spurt of goals to take us up to the new year.

"I always say December is an important month - if we get to the new year still in the frame we have a great chance."

The win followed United's elimination from the Champions League as well as the recent .

But the champions now have four games in December against teams in the bottom half of the table as they attempt to close the gap on league leaders Manchester City.

Roberto Mancini's side, who visit Chelsea on Monday, are two points ahead of United having played a game less.

"It's part of our nature that we recover well," Ferguson said after Rooney and Nani shared the goals between them in the win over Wolves. "You lose a game and you have to do something about it and we've done that."

Following the Champions League defeat by Basel, Ferguson had bristled at former United captain Roy Keane's suggestion that the loss had been a "reality check" for the club's young players.

And Ferguson pointedly praised the contribution of his young players for their part in the win over Wolves.

"I don't understand people doubting these young players," Ferguson said. "Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have all played for their country and are fantastic young players - they will be the foundation of this club for years."

Jones said: "We owed one to all the fans who travelled out there [Basle] and hopefully we showed them what we are all about with a great performance.

"Hopefully we can kick on from here. We looked like we were going to make hard work of it but we came straight back out and got the ball down, which is the United way."

Steven Fletcher's header gave Wolves a lifeline just after half-time, reflecting Wolves manager Mick McCarthy's positive tactical approach.

McCarthy said: "I chose to have a go at them and, unfortunately for me and us, they were better than us. I thought we could have done better to block the shots.

"We got back into the game and we all thought we could get something out of it but maybe thinking that was our undoing."