Patrice Evra has insisted that Wayne Rooney should not be forgotten following Robin van Persie's eye-catching start to his Manchester United career.
The Dutchman's double in Tuesday evening's 2-1 win over CFR Cluj in the second Champions League group game took his count to seven in eight matches for United. Rooney started with Van Persie for the first time since the Dutchman's £22m move from Arsenal in the summer, with the Liverpudlian creating both goals.
After Sir Alex Ferguson greeted the pair's first performance in tandem by stating he hopes they can become a great partnership, Evra said: "Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney are both outstanding players. A lot of people were talking when Robin was playing on his own [due to Rooney's month-long injury] but people mustn't forget what Wayne Rooney has done for this club. He showed that when he came on against Tottenham [on Saturday] and he showed that against Cluj. I know they can play together but I am not the boss. I am really happy they are playing well."
Evra believes Van Persie's arrival has galvanised Rooney, who is yet to score for United in five appearances this campaign. "Wayne is working very hard and he is showing that he loves the club, that he is prepared to fight. Like everyone at the club you have to fight to play every game," the left-back said. "I am happy for Manchester United, Wayne and Robin. When a new player comes then everyone is talking about that. But the players who were already at the club have to show they will never die.
"I always say it's great to have that kind of player [Van Persie]. A lot of people are talking about Robin as, when he came, he scored four goals [in his first three appearances] and was unbelievable. But don't forget Wayne and what he's done for the club.
"He's a big, massive player and he looked sharp [against Cluj]. When someone new comes, everyone is excited and forgets the old things. It's why Wazza has to show everyone. Me too, and everyone has to play their best to play for this team now."
Rooney has won four Premier League titles, the Champions League and two League Cups in his eight years at Old Trafford and Evra is surprised that this may have been forgotten. "People criticise really easily," he said. "I know they were only talking about Robin and I thought we've just got one striker! We've got a lot of strikers. Robin's an amazing player and that's good but everyone will want to show they can play with Robin or replace Robin. The star is the team not one player."
Evra also admitted that United have got into a "bad habit" of falling behind in matches this season after Cluj initially took the lead. This meant Ferguson's side have conceded first in six of their nine matches, and the Frenchman said: "Having to keep trying to come from behind is not a worry but it is a bad habit I would say. But we don't have to worry because we always have a positive reaction."
United are at Newcastle United on Sunday for a fixture they lost 3-0 in January. "Last season up there was a disaster," Evra said. "We played very badly. This year is going to be very important because we have already lost against Tottenham and we have to react. We had a meeting after that game at Newcastle last season and we talked with each other because it was not the way we respect the shirt of Man United. After that I remember we just kept winning games.
"We don't want another wake-up call at Newcastle again. We know what happened last year. We know the experience up there and we have to be ready from the first minute of the game."