Rooney ready for the Real deal

Wayne Rooney insists it has not been tough to block out the glamour of Tuesday's "special" date with Real Madrid.

Last Updated: 03/03/13 at 13:08 Post Comment

Rooney: Excited for 'special' clash with Real Madrid

Rooney: Excited for 'special' clash with Real Madrid

Only after Saturday's 4-0 win over Norwich did Manchester United's players allow their minds to drift towards that glamour Champions League tie at Old Trafford.

For whilst United went into the meeting with Chris Hughton's men 12 points clear at the top of the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson is demanding no loss of focus, or status, which Rooney feels was underlined by his team selection.

"It hasn't been hard not thinking about Tuesday," said Rooney.

"Norwich was a massive game for us and we wanted to extend the gap at the top of the league.

"The manager put a lot of experienced players out and made us aware it was more important."

Shinji Kagawa's hat-trick, the first by an Asian player in the Premier League, and Rooney's last-minute piledriver, ensured there were no unexpected slips.

So now United can train their thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo and company, who stand in the way of a quarter-final berth.

"It is going to be a special night," said Rooney.

"It is probably the two biggest clubs in the world and something we are all looking forward to."

Ferguson certainly is. And judging by his team selection on Saturday had decided to remove Kagawa from his Madrid starting line-up.

Whether the Japan midfielder's outstanding contribution has changed his mind is open to question.

However, after a difficult few months when he has struggled to regain the form he showed prior to suffering a knee injury in October, Kagawa has underlined why Ferguson bought him from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

"Shinji was fantastic," said Rooney.

"He keeps putting himself in positions where he can get a shot at goal or play someone in.

"He is great with his runs too. If you can pick him out he is cruel with his finishes.

"Goals-wise it was his best performance but he has played other games well as well without scoring."

That Kagawa responded to a question of how his hat-trick will go down in Japan by saying "it will probably be huge news in Japan but in Japan they are looking forward to the Real game" merely shows what expectation surrounds that eagerly-anticipated duel between Ferguson and Jose Mourinho.

Real's use of Manchester City's Etihad Stadium for their pre-match training session on Monday merely adds another twist in a tie filled with them.

Yet the sense remains that Ferguson is confident.

"I felt we looked very comfortable (in the first leg) and gave a good account of ourselves," he said.

"We could have scored five or six goals. Robin van Persie missed two great opportunities and their goalkeeper made a couple of good saves.

"And although we expected Madrid to have a lot of possession there was nothing that worried me unduly so perhaps we should have won the game."

Much may depend upon whether Phil Jones recovers from the ankle injury that kept him out of Saturday's game because without him, Ferguson does not have an obvious alternative to screen his defence.

It might be a job for Ryan Giggs, hence his omission from the squad to face Norwich, denying the Welshman his 1,000th senior appearance.

Neither Tom Cleverley nor Anderson seem disciplined enough defensively, which does create something of a headache.

However, Ferguson is acutely aware that, after losing both the 2009 and 2011 finals, victory would represent a significant milestone for his reshaped team.

"To beat Real Madrid on our own ground would be a great step forward for this particular team," said Ferguson.

"It would give us a chance of going all the way in this tournament."


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

FairyNuff
Shaw told to shape up

Footer 365

Champions League: Henning Berg hopeful of Legia Warsaw's chances against Celtic

Legia Warsaw boss Henning Berg hopes his side can get a positive result against Celtic in their Champions League tie.

Premier League: Ross Barkley signs new four-year contract at Everton

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has signed a new four-year deal with the club.

Transfer news: Southampton's chairman says Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin will stay

Jay Rodriguez and Morgan Schneiderlin will not be sold, according to Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger.

Mail Box

Youth Development Has To Be The Future

A varied Mailbox has thoughts on transfer targets, youth development, the obsession over 3-5-2, some innovative Blackpool suggestions and why Real bought Kroos...

Don't You Worry About Southampton...

We can't help but agree with one mailboxer who tries to calm the crisis-mongers gathering around Southampton, while we have mails on Man United's squad...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property