Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says an in-form Wayne Rooney will be crucial in the title run in.

He is looking for him to maintain a goal-a-game strike rate for the rest of the campaign and tilt the balance of United's Premier League duel with neighbours Manchester City.

Ferguson said: "I think Wayne's goals will make the difference if he can keep going. He's doing well and his scoring form is outstanding - 17 from the last 17. We've got eight games left and you'd probably say an average of a goal a game. You'd take that and you can reasonably expect that. There might be a game where he gets two for us.

"We've had a good spread of ­scorers this season with 18 players getting goals. Over the years, though, we've had one outstanding goal-scorer - Cristiano Ronaldo, Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov."