Rooney missed the 1-0 win over Wolves at Molineux after aggravating a knee injury during England's midweek victory over Egypt.

Ferguson was not happy with his star striker for declaring himself fit for international duty, and United look set to pay the price with the absence of their £27million man for the return encounter with David Beckham and company at Old Trafford this week.

"Wayne is very doubtful for Wednesday," said Ferguson. "The Wembley pitch has killed him."

Ferguson's damning assessment of the Wembley surface is at least being addressed, with a new pitch being laid before the end of the month.

That is not going to help United much though, given the way they laboured without their talisman for long periods this evening.

In the end it took Paul Scholes' 100th Premier League goal to settle the contest 17 minutes from time and send the Red Devils two points clear of Chelsea and Arsenal.

"Paul had an excellent game," Ferguson added. "That is his 100th league goal for us, which is a great achievement. He is a marvellous player.

"I felt we played the best football and we deserved to win.

"It is another away game off the list and it is a good victory because we knew Wolves were going to fight.

"We've had many results like this over the years and it could be significant. We showed a great determination to win."

United could count themselves slightly fortunate given that Sam Vokes blazed a six-yard shot over the bar in injury time after finding himself completely unmarked.

"It was an unbelievable chance," admitted Ferguson. "It is the type of chance you hope to get and thankfully he didn't take it."

While the result was good news for United, it leaves Wolves clinging desperately to 17th place, outside the relegation places on goal difference alone.

Manager Mick McCarthy could not fault his side for effort and disputed Ferguson's claim that the visitors were the better team.

"I think some people were watching through rose-tinted spectacles," he said.

"He thought United deserved to win? That is great propaganda."

McCarthy refused to blame Vokes for failing to snatch what could have been a crucial point and insisted he retains faith in the youngster.

"Sam would have expected to score that goal from the position he was in," McCarthy added. "He works very hard on that part of his game.

"As long as we have breath we will carry on fighting and you never know, he could be the one who gets the goal to keep us up."