UEFA Champions League Update by Cathal Dervan
Manchester United and Chelsea -
Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2011 at 05:51 AM
- Champion League briefs
- Carlo Ancelotti challenges born against Chelsea
- Sunderland boss Steve Bruce fumes over penalty decision
- Arsene Wenger believes in Arsenal
- Alex Ferguson praises Manchester United character
Manchester United and England winger Wayne Rooney has escaped punishment for his elbow on Irish international James McCarthy.
Rooney was caught on camera elbowing McCarthy on the back of his head during United’s 4-0 EPL win at the DW Stadium on Saturday.
Referee Mark Clattenburg awarded a free to Wigan but took no action against Rooney.
That incensed the Wigan boss Roberto Martinez who claimed the England star should have received a straight red card if Clattenburg had seen the incident properly.
Clattenburg has since confirmed to the English however that he took the appropriate action meaning Rooney will escape a ban and is free to play against Chelsea in the big Premier League game on Tuesday night.
FIFA rules don’t allow the English FA to overthrow a referee’s decision once the referee says he took the right decision.
Rooney meanwhile has admitted to a nightmare season personally as United chase a Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble.
United are now four points clear of Arsenal at the top of the EPL table going to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night and are 90 minutes away from the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Despite scoring his seventh goal of the season against Wigan on Saturday, Rooney is unhappy with his current form just months after withdrawing a transfer request and signing a new contract at Old Trafford.
“I have to say it’s been a difficult season for me - probably the worst I’ve ever had,” Rooney told the News of the World.
“That week when I asked for a transfer was something I wouldn’t want to go through ever again, but I feel I made the right decision to stay because this club is always going to be challenging for trophies.
“I picked up a few niggles as well and missed a few games, so I didn’t really feel like I was playing a part.
“The good thing is that I feel fresh at a time when most players are picking up injuries or feeling jaded.
“I really want to kick on from here and have a big impact on the most important matches of the season.”
The recent bicycle kick against Manchester City has been hailed as one of the greatest goals of all time and it gave Rooney a lift as well as everyone who witnessed it in the derby game.
“The goal against City gave me a big lift because it was in such an important game. I’ve seen it again quite a few times and I’ll never get sick of it,” added the 25-year-old.
“We’re happy with the position we have put ourselves in - and we know it could have been even better
“This is usually the time of year when we really go for it. We want the title back. It was hard losing it to Chelsea as we did last season and now we go there on Tuesday.
“We’ve got a really terrible record at Stamford Bridge - in fact, I don’t think I have ever won there in my entire career.
“But you get these things in football and there’s no way to explain them. It won’t play on our minds. If anything, it will make us even more determined to go there and win.
“It’s a really massive game and Chelsea need to win it more than we do. Hopefully the pressure will tell on them.
“We can make it really hard for them by beating them but they will be thinking the same thing about us because it will have a big say on where the title goes.”
TORRES WANTS DANISH DELIGHT AGAINST UNITED
Fernando Torres wants to build on his Champions League experience in Copenhagen when Chelsea will look to keep their feint title hopes alive on Tuesday night.
The reigning English Premier League champions face leaders Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in a home game they simply cannot afford to lose.
The Blues are currently 15 points behind United but have to play Alex Ferguson’s side twice before the end of the season, starting on Tuesday, and have a game in hand.
Torres has yet to score for his new club since his record £50million move from Liverpool on transfer deadline day last month.
But his new partnership with Nicolas Anelka thrived in the 2-0 Champions League win away to Copenhagen last week and Torres is keen to build on that experience against United.
“It is my job to understand the game of Nico or the game of Didier Drogba, and to be involved in the routine of the team and know the quality of the players so that’s what I am trying to do now,” said Torres.
“The strikers we have depend on the play of the rest of the team. With two lines of four in Denmark, the team played really well and the balance was really good, compact, and they did well, sometimes playing balls behind the centre-backs or sometimes between the lines, and Nico likes to play like this.”
Torres knows Tuesday night is the perfect time to break his Chelsea duck but it won’t be easy against old foe Nemanja Vidic, United captain in the absence of the injured Rio Ferdinand.
“You want to play well against these players to show you can do it, and Vidic and Ferdinand were always a big challenge for me, so I hoped they could both play,” added Torres.
“Some people prefer big players not to be playing but I prefer to play against these kinds of players.
“This will be an interesting game because it can make us come back to fight for the title. It is one of the most important games of the season right now, and if we win this one, we are closer to them and we will still have one more game against them.”
Like Torres, Chelsea captain John Terry is under no illusions about the importance of the United game for his side.
“It is a must-win game for us and the fans are going to be up for it,” Terry admitted. “If we can win, who knows, it could put a little bit of pressure on them and the teams around us.
“We are very confident at home and the way they play might help us. I’m not sure how they are going to come at us but other teams that have come to the Bridge have sat back and we’ve found it hard to break them down.
“It’s just a case of winning the game. I don’t care how that comes about. We just have to be up for it.”