Ferguson plays down Rooney injury fears

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson insists Wayne Rooney did not suffer any long-term damage as Manchester United bowed out of the Champions League on away goals last night.

Ferguson took a calculated gamble to risk Rooney's ankle injury against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford and confirmed afterwards his star striker had aggravated the problem during a 3-2 win that condemned United to an exit at the quarter-final stage.

Rooney is now likely to miss Sunday's trip to Blackburn, the start of a five-match title run-in in which Ferguson believes his side cannot drop a single point if they are to stand any chance of retaining their Premier League crown.

However, the United boss is confident his 34-goal forward will be fit for the derby trip to Manchester City on April 17.

"He got a knock which was similar to last week," said the United boss.

"It is a burst blood vessel below the ankle. He won't be out for too long."

After claiming on Tuesday that Rooney had "no chance" of being involved last night, Ferguson revealed that the about-turn was only confirmed on Wednesday morning, once he had spoken to medical staff about a work-out Rooney had put himself through.

"He had a training session yesterday (Tuesday) and did everything we could have asked of him," said Ferguson.

"The medical people thought there was no danger, other than he might feel it in the second-half, so we felt it was worth the risk.

"Unfortunately he went over on the ankle again. There were a couple of challenges on him and I don't think he got any protection from the referee but it is not too serious.

"I don't think he will be ready for Sunday but he should be available for next week."

Ferguson must find a way of raising his troops after they failed to overcome the 49th-minute dismissal of young defender Rafael, which he felt was pivotal.

United made a flying start, with Darron Gibson and Nani putting them ahead in the tie after just seven minutes.

When the Portugal winger added another late in the first-half, it seemed United would canter into the semi-finals.

Instead, Ivica Olic netted just before the break and once Rafael departed soon after the restart, United had their backs to the wall.

It took a wonder strike from Arjen Robben to send them through, United not having the energy to mount any kind of response.

"It was 35 yards from goal," said Ferguson of Rafael's tug on Franck Ribery.

"There was no threat and the referee wasn't going to do anything about it until they surrounded him.

"It is typical of Germans. They are like that."

Ferguson's allegation was met with a swift rebuttal from Bayern coach Louis van Gaal, who was also unimpressed by the United manager's assertion that the Germans would not have gone through if their hosts had retained 11 players, or claims that the visiting team targeted Rooney's ankle.

"I thought England was noted for fairness," said Van Gaal.

"I have been confronted with three comments. It is not what I call fair play.

"I do not share Sir Alex's opinion.

"It is easy to say these things after a loss."

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