Rooney admits title defeat would be a failure
Wayne Rooney would deem it a failure if Manchester United do not win the Premier League this season to complete a hat-trick of English league titles.
After seeing a seven-point lead reduced to just one following defeats to second-placed Liverpool and Fulham immediately before the international break the reigning champions are under intense pressure.
By the time they tackle Aston Villa on Sunday, Rafael Benitez's Liverpool could have leapfrogged United, although the Red Devils would have a couple of matches in hand.
However, if they suffer a third straight loss this weekend there would be seriously worried faces at Old Trafford, but Rooney insists failure is not an option in the title race.
''If you don't manage to retain a trophy you can't deem it as anything but a failure,'' Rooney told Inside United.
''You have already proved you are good enough to do it, so it just drives you on to win more. The history of the club demands that we continue winning. I don't think the players would ever let themselves become complacent.''
Given the form Rooney is in just now, Sir Alex Ferguson could do with the England striker.
Ferguson has other problems too as Dimitar Berbatov and Anderson are both struggling with ankle and knee problems respectively, while Carlos Tevez will return from South America still shellshocked at the six-goal hammering in Bolivia.
It is hardly the ideal backdrop to such an important game.
But Rooney, who will return for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final with FC Porto, is desperate to ensure Liverpool do not end their 19-year league title drought.
''Victory in the league this season will definitely taste sweeter if we pip Liverpool to the title,'' said the boyhood Everton fan.
''That said, I have never had to endure much Liverpool success. The last time they won the league I was only a child. Even so, it would be hard to take if they won it this season.''