Beware returning Rooney - Ferguson warns

Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney will be raring to go against Chelsea as he returns from his domestic ban in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Updated: April 12, 2011 13:14 IST
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Manchester: Sir Alex Ferguson believes Wayne Rooney will be raring to go against Chelsea as he returns from his domestic ban in the Champions League on Tuesday.

United take a 1-0 lead into the quarter-final home leg after Rooney scored the only goal in the first game at Stamford Bridge last week.

Rooney was given a two-match suspension for swearing into a television camera after scoring a hat-trick in the 4-2 Premier League win at West Ham.

He was absent from the 2-0 victory over Fulham at the weekend and will miss the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Saturday.

Rooney has scored seven goals in his last eight matches and Ferguson feels he will be desperate to make an impression against Carlo Ancelotti's team.

Ferguson said: "He will definitely be fresher that's for sure. Missing the game on Saturday means he will have six days good preparation and that should make a difference.

"In the first leg he adapted to the role we asked him to play very, very well and it wasn't an easy role because he's got to combine a defensive duty with an attacking thrust.

"Tactically he did really well in the match and his performance level was good."

Defender Rio Ferdinand, who returned from a calf problem in the first leg, believes that United can count on Rooney to put in a big performance against the Premier League champions.

Ferdinand said: "Regardless of what's happened, he's always pumped up and wants to do well because he's a professional footballer and wants to do well.

"He thrives on big occasions as we've seen in the past and he's a talented footballer and like the other players out there, under the lights on a European night, it's a special occasion."

Midfielder Darren Fletcher is a major doubt with a virus and Brazilian defender Rafael will have a fitness test on Tuesday morning to decide whether he has overcome a knee injury.

Ferguson believes that Chelsea have been obsessed with winning the Champions League since Roman Abramovich took over at Stamford Bridge in 2003.

The Blues have missed out on several occasions, including a defeat in the final to United, on penalties in Moscow three years ago.

Ferguson feels that Chelsea's desperation to win the Champions League for the first time was the reason why they spent £50 million to sign Fernando Torres from Liverpool in January.

From taking over at Old Trafford in 1986, it took Ferguson 13 years to win the Champions League and he did not win it again until that victory over Chelsea in 2008.

Ferguson added: "It seems to be an obsession for them to win the European Cup and there's no question in my mind that's why they signed Fernando Torres.

"That's an obvious reason for signing the lad and the owner Abramovich has nailed his colours to the mast in that respect, I've felt that for quite a while about them," Ferguson said.

"It's a very difficult competition to win. All of the best teams are there and you see the form of Barcelona at the moment is fantastic.

"To have an obsession with winning the European Cup is stretching yourself a little bit. I had the obsession myself for quite a long time, losing semi-finals and you're saying to yourself ‘I'm never going to do it'.

"And when we did it in Barcelona it was the greatest feeling of all time and took the monkey off my back a bit.

"I can understand it but it doesn't make Chelsea any more desperate to win it than we are. We're desperate to win it."

Ferguson insists that United will not sit on their lead and feels their best chance of reaching a semi-final against Schalke or Inter Milan is winning the second leg.

He continued: "There's no question that Manchester United are at their best when they're trying to win matches."

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