Moyes expects more from in-form Rooney
Manchester United manager David Moyes reckons Wayne Rooney has still to find his best form despite his impressive recent displays for the English champions.
The England striker returned from a severe gash to the head by scoring three goals in a week including two in Tuesday's Champions League victory against Bayer Leverkusen, a double that saw him become only the fourth United player to reach a tally of 200 goals for the club.
Rooney's recent goal-spree had led to speculation United may offer the 27-year-old forward a contract extension to a deal that expires in 2015, with former manager turned club director Alex Ferguson, praising his work on Thursday.
Moyes, who oversaw the start of Rooney's professional career when Everton manager, was coy about the forward's future, saying Friday ahead of Sunday's derby away to Manchester City: "I think we just go step by step.
"If he could score another two goals at the weekend that would be the next step forward wouldn't it?
"I think he's played well and we want him to maintain it (his form)," Moyes said.
"If anything, I am asking him to step up again and keep getting better. He's trained really hard. I'm not sure if everybody believed me, but Wayne was in great shape before he injured his hamstring before we went to Thailand.
"We thought he was going to be OK, but it wasn't. We kept him working really hard -- or rather he kept himself working really hard.
"He was in really good shape and I was impressed with the condition he was in and the way he worked in pre-season.
"I think he is getting the fruits of that. He has worked hard and shown everyone what he can do."
Moyes said his previous experience of derby games, having played for Celtic, part of Glasgow's 'Old Firm' along with fallen Scottish giants Rangers, and later as manager of Everton, whose match with city rivals Liverpool is always a passionate encounter, would benefit him at the weekend.
"I think because I've experienced in derby games in Glasgow and Merseyside I think I know what to expect.
"But every derby in every big city wherever you go is important to whatever team you support. I understand how important it is to the Manchester United supporters.
"I think there is an excitement with a derby in any big city. They are all really important to your supporters and to the players as well.
"Everyone realises the passion that is there between the supporters, the commitment the players are required to show in the game.
"You can go into the derby in good form but it doesn't necessarily give you an idea of the way it can go. They can go either way.
"Ultimately it's what happens come the end of the season and how many points you get together to see who is top."
United striker Danny Welbeck remains doubtful for Sunday's match with a knee injury, while defenders Phil Jones (ankle) and Rafael da Silva (hamstring) will both miss the trip to Eastlands.