Rooney Smalling Manchester United
Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling celebrate a goal against Bayer Leverkusen, November 27. Rooney will miss the game against Newcastle through suspension.Reuters
Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling celebrate a goal against Bayer Leverkusen, November 27. Reuters
Wayne Rooney and Chris Smalling celebrate a goal against Bayer Leverkusen, November 27. Reuters

Wayne Rooney called Manchester United's thumping 5-0 win at Bayer Leverkusen as "perfect" with the English Premier League champions qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League in some style.

United put behind their Premier League worries, way way back, dishing out a memorable attacking performance to put Leverkusen, themselves in prime form in the Bundesliga, to the sword.

Rooney was the creator extraordinaire, having a hand in four of the five goals, with Antonio Valencia, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Nani all getting on the scoresheet.

"I think it was a perfect away match tonight," Rooney was quoted as saying by UEFA's official website. "We played very well, we defended well, there was some great counterattacking football, we played with power, pace and composure, so it was really as good an away performance as you can get.

"The first goal was obviously vital. We knew if we let Bayer get the first goal it would create a hostile atmosphere and lift them in a way. So we knew if we could get the first goal it would silence the fans. Then we had the ability to go on and end the game. I think we need one point to finish top of the group so it is vital we at least get that one point because it's important to finish top."

Ryan Giggs, who will turn 40 on Friday, also enjoyed a brilliant game, setting Nani up for United's fifth goal, and the Wales legend said even he was surprised by the dominance shown by his side on Wednesday night.

"We just scored five goals away from home and that's special in any European game, so we are really pleased," he said. "It was an important game for us because we knew if we won we'd go through, but we didn't think we would put in a performance like this and score five goals."

The win means United can now relax in Europe to a certain extent, even if top spot is not guaranteed yet, and turn their attentions to the Premier League, where they have struggled to string out wins on a regular basis.

United are currently seven points behind Arsenal in fifth, but if the performance against Leverkusen is anything to go by, it won't be too long before they are up there near the top of the table.

"I think it was a complete performance," Nani said. "We started very well and we knew they would attack a lot at the beginning. They tried to attack and score early, but we did very well and defended very well. The entire team was compact.

"We then tried to exploit them on the counterattack and had opportunities. Then we scored and ended up scoring five. Five goals away from home against a German team -- that is not easy!"