Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Fergie backs Rooney to lift United

Confident Sir Alex Ferguson today backed Wayne Rooney to get Manchester United’s Champions League challenge back on track in Romania tonight.

Ferguson surprisingly omitted Rooney from the United starting line-up to face Liverpool at the weekend, saying he was “devastated” at picking up a three-match ban that would rule him out of the entire European Championships if England fail to emerge from their group.

But, introduced straight after Steven Gerrard opened the scoring at Anfield, Rooney used a central midfield role to help trigger a comeback.

And the England striker will be involved from the start as United look to find winning form for the first time in the Champions League this season, after two draws, when they tackle Otelul Galati (SKY 7.45pm).

“When he came on he was quite bubbly,” said Ferguson.”He was full of energy and enthusiasm.

“He was desperate to get on, which is good. When he was sat watching the game he probably said, ‘Christ I could be out there'.

“He'll be playing tonight.”

Rooney will decide later this week whether to launch an appeal against the three-match ban, which stunned Ferguson, who labelled the striker's challenge in Montenegro “silly but not seriously dangerous”.

United have so far picked up only two points from their opening couple of games against Benfica and Basle and Fergie admitted: “Against Basle we became very complacent and it's not a tournament where you can afford to be complacent.

“We have to win, so I'll play a strong team. But I can play several teams and they would still be strong enough to win the game.”

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