Rooney responded by dictating from deep as it was his long diagonal pass which started the build-up to Antonio Valencia's eighth-minute goal and he rounded off a laboured team performance with a hugely-deflected goal late one.
"I think he was our best player. He showed great awareness of that role," said Ferguson.
"His selection of passes at times was very good and showed great energy and determination - we got a really good performance out of him tonight.
"We had injuries and that is one of the reasons we played him there.
"Cleverley is injured, Carrick is injured, Darren Fletcher played on Saturday but it was better he played next Saturday.
"It was an option for us and a good option because he has all the qualities you need to be a central midfield player.
"The first thing you have to say about him is that he receives the ball very well.
"He is aided by the fact he plays in a forward role, when receiving the ball is more of an issue but that was an advantage for him tonight.
"I am not surprised the team we were playing against were aggressive in defending so he has to take credit in being able to handle that part."