Manchester United - United v Bayern - Last Chance Saloon, With Rooney
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United v Bayern - Last Chance Saloon, With Rooney

After our title challenge ended on Saturday, thoughts turned towards the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich which will determine whether we'll have anything significant to play for during the remaining one and a half months of the season.

After the sale of Ronaldo and the incredibly injury problems we had in defence as well as the off-field distractions, I would deem it a successful season even if it ended right here although it is of course well below the standard that has been set in recent years.

However, a third consecutive Champions League final is within reach - we only have to beat Bayern Munich 1-0 or by two clear goals at Old Trafford to set up a semi-final meeting with Bordeaux or Lyon, probably the latter.

Fergie has to be very, very clever with his selection because we have nothing else to play for but the Champions League. He cannot have one eye on the league clash against Blackburn, he must not juggle with the squad - he must put out the strongest available line-up. Which would mean putting Giggs, Scholes and Neville on the bench as on current form and fitness they are not part of the best XI. We simply cannot risk being overrun again, as we were by Chelsea on the Saturday.

The Rooney dilemma is not really a dilemma. If there is a risk of a long-term injury then he should not play even though reports suggest he came through a full training session and a practice match, too. However, if the only risk if that he might miss the game against Rovers - then so be it, put him at least on the bench, the league is over anyway. I don't expect him to feature though and I'm certain he won't start, whatever the papers and bookies might suggest.

I hope that Fergie drummed into Berbatov that he should play as a centre-forward. That is to say, he should link up the play, disrupt the defensive line, attempt to run behind them, to look for through balls and crosses coming in his way. Too often he plays like a bleedin' attacking midfielder or a 'false number nine' which is a very flashy thing right now but we do not have the wide forwards to exploit such a player. He has to play as a proper number nine, as Rooney does.

I would not risk starting with Macheda - he is still very raw and we could lose shape and direction because of his insufficient experience. He is a good option from the bench, his style is very unpleasant for tiring defenders. Nani and Valencia should start on the flanks because it is very important to have real pace in attack in the absence of Rooney.

But the most important thing is that everyone understands there is no second chance. This game will determine if we have anything to play for so everyone has to give 150% and not to worry about what happens in the next game. The next game does not exist for us, only this one. Bayern have a cup final and a probable league title to look forward to so they have less to lose. This means more pressure but we should thrive under that. We really should.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 7 2010

Time: 2:47PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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The biggest match of our season. We have in the same road before. People may say that Bayern will get past us easily with Robben coming back, but remember when the chips are down we do really really well. Our team is not a bunch of superstars, we are a team with full of heart. OT will have its magic for us. Let us Believe.We are the mighty United. The spirit never dies.
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07/04/2010 17:35:00

God can't believe it.. Rooney starts the match
Report Abuse
07/04/2010 19:04:00

Roo starts, we go 3 nil up, and still go out... ffs
Report Abuse
07/04/2010 21:41:00

On one hand Im gutted at going out considering how well we started. But at the same time when you look back at the 4 goals we conceeded over the two games 3 of their goals were defended so incredibly badly that we got what we deserved. After Rooney rolled his ankle we were less threating but still had a counter attack or two left in us. Rafael played really well but got a stupid first booking, a slightly harsh second and made a poor decision for his chance on goal. Id still rather see him making these mistakes as a 19 year old than see Neville ruining his reputation. Given the way Rafael harasses players Fergie should have taken him off as it was clear as day he was gonna get another yellow. Nani's effort was incredible as was Valencias. Gibsons work rate was much needed after the last two games. The only player I really want to criticise in Michael Carrick. There is no excuse for the way he played today. After gifting them the first, he gives away possession needlessly for the corner and then is too slow to make the block. In addition he missed a great chance and spent the rest of the game chasing shadows and attempting gift bayern even more chances. Im not interested in ever seeing michael carrick play again - he is dead to me.
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07/04/2010 21:50:00

Tuscan, yeah Carrick was poor for us, but ya cant say that - hes a class player, who has come on and changed games for us in the past...
Hes been poor last few games, but hes still a quality player, and look where Liver****e are this season - challenging for 7th spot, and not in CL...
No CL footie for them next season end of.....
Report Abuse
07/04/2010 22:32:00

Well, you're definitely out of Europe, that's for sure. But are manu fans really writing themselves out of the title race? I must admit it's not looking too good for you at the moment, but you're only 2 points behind Chelsea. If you've lost Rooney for the season then you probably have a fight with l'arse for 3rd, and whilst I don't want to give you any encouragement, it ain't quite over yet, surely?
Report Abuse
07/04/2010 22:37:00

"After our title challenge ended on Saturday" Is still undecided! Now the race is truly.Both teams out for redemption.
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07/04/2010 22:38:00

Tuscan,fair play to you.Accepting it how it is.Surprised to see how you lot arent disputing the card considering I even thought it was harsh.
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07/04/2010 22:40:00

What an absolute botch up by Sir Alex. First as predicted he played Rooney, who wasn't fit and will now be out for several weeks. He plays a tempremental, emotional and inexperienced youth who alwaus gets booked at right back and then doesn't replace him when he is booked - stupid, isn't in it. He doesn't start with the likes of Giggs, who has been there and seen it and when 3-0 doesn't try and defned the lead and take Rooneey off. Dumb and dumber if you ask my opinion. Lets hope the Glazers show their muscle and pension hhim off and appoint a younger manager with potential who will do a great job. Paul Ince immediately comes to mind - hands up who agree?
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07/04/2010 23:31:00

wswilly I must have been watching a different game. I thought Rafael was fouled before he gave the foul for his first booking. In which case he should have had the free kick and not a booking. Rooney should not have played. I thought you were unlucky but you have to face up now for your last games. There is still a chance.
SFC Forever
Report Abuse
08/04/2010 00:03:00

Rafael was fouled before the first yellow and the second was harsh. Dont worry about what wswilly3 was watching - man city dont play til the weekend so he was probably watching gossip girl
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08/04/2010 01:30:00

Ferguson out - Ince in
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08/04/2010 10:01:00

Rafael was fouled before his first booking, but the card was given for retaliation - he can't have any complaints for getting booked for kicking out at an opponent surely? The second yellow was more dubious, but the lad does seem to pick up more than his fair share of cards.
Report Abuse
08/04/2010 10:15:00

Bad luck guys.... i really fell for ya... honestly lol
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08/04/2010 10:36:00

Thanks for stating the obvious fifthcolumnblue - we're all aware of why he was booked - the point is he retaliated because he was hacked down. If the ref had blown he wouldnt have felt such injustice and wouldnt have kicked him.
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08/04/2010 11:51:00

Rafa shouldnt have lashed out - hes been watching ROnaldo do it - we know he WILL NOT be doing anything like that again in the near future.....
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08/04/2010 18:11:00

Not after taggart's removed his legs and slapped him about the head with them, that's for sure NW.
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08/04/2010 22:36:00

Thats the reason why Im ok with Rafael. Defenders get better with experience - the mistakes he makes now will be learnt from and in 5/6 years time we could be looking at the best right back in the game for years to come. Aside from the stupid kick out (the frustration of which is understandable) and the harsh (but maybe just about fair) second yellow he was immaculate. He has proven that he has the mental strength to overcome mistakes and bad performances (eg the two legs against milan) and in my view its frightening how much he can improve from here. Lets not forget before the twins came to united they played little to no competitive club football - their progress and raw talent is immense.
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09/04/2010 03:02:00

Rafa will be an even better talent next season, remember ROnaldo petulance when he was fouled first couple of season.....
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11/04/2010 16:56:00


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