Wayne Rooney insisted last night that the prospect of meeting Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals held no fear for Manchester United, despite an extraordinary injury crisis which leaves the club with 11 players out and only four recognised fit defenders.
"I think if you want to win this tournament you have to play anyone and beat them. We are confident that whoever we get we can beat them. We will be confident we can win it," said Rooney.
John O'Shea and his replacement Rafael da Silva both departed with hamstring injuries, leaving Wes Brown, Chris Smalling, Patrice Evra and Fabio da Silva the only certainties to choose from to face Bolton at Old Trafford on Saturday. Sir Alex Ferguson dismissed the idea of turning to Gary Neville. "He hasn't trained for two months! He's retired!"
Javier Hernandez took his goal tally for United to 16 in 17 starts and Ferguson admitted the speed of the £7m purchase's adaptation had "surprised" United. "We thought it would take him some time to adjust and [we would] mainly use him as a substitute," he said. "He's lasting the 90 minutes now and giving us options. He showed unbelievable movement."
Ferguson admitted a defensive vulnerability as United reached their fifth successive quarter-final. "It's a lack of – how would you put it? – understanding between the players. We've changed the back four goodness knows how many times [tonight]." Chris Smalling had "made a couple of mistakes tonight but because he wants to learn, he will," he concluded.
Marseilles manager Didier Deschamps said: "This is not a fantastic United side. We failed to capitalise. The feeling is regret."Reuse content