Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernández can match Manchester United's attack during the 1999 treble-winning season as he welcomes the forwards back from injury to play against Norwich City.
The United manager confirmed Rooney has recovered from the hamstring strain that sidelined the England international against Stoke City and Basel, while Hernández is over the dead leg he suffered at the Britannia Stadium which also kept him out of the 3-3 Champions League draw with the Swiss champions.
Despite an impressive start to the season by Danny Welbeck, Ferguson admits Rooney and the Mexico international carry United's greatest threat and believes they could be the club's most potent partnership since Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole formed an instant rapport 12 years ago.
"They haven't played a full season together yet," the United manager said. "Yorke and Cole scored 52 goals in that season between them, which was exceptional because Yorkie [had] just joined us. It was his first season. Unbelievable. I think Yorkie that season was probably one of the best strikers in Europe. For a first season player he was amazing. He and Andy just hit it off immediately. I would like to hope [Rooney and Hernández can emulate 52 goals] but you never know. It's a tough league."
Ferguson did not discount the prospect, however. He added: "The goal threat was immense on a regular basis when Hernández came into the side just after Christmas. The boy has come back and scored two goals so far. I really do expect him to score 25 and over because he has got something in that box.
"Wayne has had a fantastic start to the season and has got nine goals at the moment. The capability is there and I've got Welbeck, and I've got [Michael] Owen, and I've got [Dimitar] Berbatov, and I've got [Federico] Macheda and I've got [Mame Biram] Diouf. It's a terrific unit, that."
The United manager reiterated his concern at the "cavalier" attitude from the Premier League champions that allowed Basel to recover a two-goal deficit at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
Ferguson said: "People have said our performance on Tuesday was careless and we underestimated our opponents, and I think there is an element of truth about that. I certainly wasn't happy. Even in the first half I could smell we were too lax. We could have lost three goals in the first half. We could have scored three goals but that is the way we are playing at the moment. That cavalier attitude. Maybe people can enjoy it but it certainly doesn't win leagues. We have to be better defensively."
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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