MANCHESTER - Alex Ferguson is searching for a cure for Manchester United's lack of scoring punch.
While savouring Tuesday's 1-0 victory over AS Roma in the Champions League, Ferguson was also reflecting on the fact that it was United's sixth single-goal victory in eight matches this season.
"It's a disease," the Red Devils manager said. "I'm trying to get a vaccine for it."
Replicating the epic 7-1 rout of the Italians at Old Trafford in April never seemed likely as United ground out three points by another slender margin.
Ferguson called on his players to stop being so averse to risk-taking.
"In the first half we were too tactical and played with too much caution," he said. "The second half we improved - we played with good control, good football, good tactical awareness."
But his players are frustrated.
"We're winning games and not entertaining the fans, who pay good money to come here," defender Rio Ferdinand said.
"The whole heritage of Manchester United is based on attacking football, freeflowing football, but at the moment we'll take what we are given and we'll work on it on the training ground."
Much of the blame has been heaped on the misfiring forwards. But Wayne Rooney, who broke his foot in August, got his first goal of the season with a blistering 70th-minute winner on Tuesday.
"I had to take it as early as I could," the England striker said. "I saw the defender coming across and had to see it past him and the goalkeeper to the far post."
Ferguson was delighted to see Rooney hitting the net in his fourth game back.
"He is still trying to get his rhythm and real match fitness," Ferguson said. "Goals always do players good, particularly when goals are expected of them."
Rooney was playing off Louis Saha, who was making his eagerly anticipated return after missing most of the year with a knee injury.
However, the France striker did little to establish himself as United's immediate goalscoring solution and was replaced by Carlos Tevez just before Rooney's decisive intervention.
Nani looked lively down the left flank whipping in balls and came close to scoring. - Sapa-AP