Sir Alex Ferguson conceded Wayne Rooney is currently operating below his best level in the aftermath of Manchester United's 3-0 defeat of Bolton on Saturday.
While United sauntered to a victory that took them level on points with Manchester City at the Premier League summit, Rooney endured an afternoon of frustration as he missed his third penalty from six taken this season.
Rooney's relationship with Ferguson has come under strain since the turn of last year after the England man was dropped for a poor performance in training after breaking a club curfew on Boxing Day.
Reports surfaced that their relationship had broken down before both the player and club issued a joint-statement to reaffirm their commitment to one another.
However, in his post-match appraisal of Saturday's game Ferguson was in no mood to treat his star striker with kid gloves.
"Wayne had his moments but he can do better really," said Ferguson.
"I think missing the penalty kick maybe upset him a little bit.
"But it's a good punishment."