Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani are both confident about Manchester United's progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. United drew 0-0 in the Stade Vélodrome on Wednesday night, leaving them favourites to progress but potentially vulnerable to an away goal. Both players, however, believe that United are capable of reaching their fifth consecutive Champions League quarter-final when the teams meet again on 15 March.
Rooney played on the left wing of a 4-5-1 system on Wednesday, with Dimitar Berbatov as the lone frontman. It is a role that Rooney has played in the past for United, particularly in European games, most frequently in the 2008-09 season when Cristiano Ronaldo led the line.
Sir Alex Ferguson's deployment of Rooney there also owed something to injuries, with Ryan Giggs, Ji-Sung Park and Antonio Valencia absent. The England international, therefore, expressed his willingness to play the role when it was asked of him. "We've got a lot of injuries at the minute, so I don't have a problem [playing on the wing]," he told Uefa.com.
United did not create too many goal-scoring chances, the best being a Darren Fletcher shot in the first half. "It was quite a difficult game for us," Rooney admitted. "Marseilles didn't cause us many problems but we didn't create as many chances as we'd have liked either. We had a few big players missing and I think they would have made a difference had they been here."
For United to progress, Rooney identified a positive attitude at Old Trafford as the most important thing. "We've got Marseilles at home now," he said, "and we know that if we beat them we're through to the next round. We're confident at home and we have to be positive."
Nani made the same point as his team-mate. "We need to make sure we are positive and strong from the start in the next game and do our best to try and score an early goal," said the Portuguese winger, who was arguably United's best attacking player at the Stade Vélodrome.
"Our performance last night wasn't the best. We worked hard but sometimes things don't turn out how you'd hope. We have another opportunity to get the job done in the next game and with our supporters behind us we know we have a fantastic chance."
The draw was a continuation of United's recent poor away form; they have won just four of their last 11 away games in all competitions; against Rangers in the Champions League, against Blackpool and West Bromwich in the League and against Southampton in the FA Cup.
Aside from their European games, United have important domestic matches soon, with Premier League trips to Chelsea and Liverpool next week and then a probable FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal.
"We have some massive games coming up," Nani said. "The next few weeks are going to be very important for us. We are focused on winning every game because we know the results in the next few matches could prove decisive".
Uefa has opened disciplinary cases against both sets of supporters following Wednesday's game. Marseilles fans reportedly shined a laser pen at Nani and his team-mate Patrice Evra during the match. French club Lyons were fined €3,200 (£2,740) by Uefa in 2008 after a similar incident, when a laser pen was shone at Ronaldo, then a United player. Uefa is also investigating reports that the travelling United fans lit flares in the away end, in breach of competition rules.
United have drawn more on their travels than they've won this season:
United's away form 2010-11
Premier League Won 3, Drawn 8, Lost 1, F 18, A 16
Champions League Won 3, Drawn 1, Lost 0, F 5, A 0
Other competitions Won 2, Drawn 0, Lost 1, F 6, A 3Reuse content