Soccer

Rooney targets Europa League

2011-12-15 19:18
Wayne Rooney (File)

Manchester - Wayne Rooney has insisted Manchester United will want to win this season's Europa League despite only appearing in the tournament as a result of their Champions League exit.

United were sent crashing into European club football's second tier tournament after a shock loss to Swiss side Basel last week - an embarrassing situation for a side that have played in three of the last four Champions League finals.

But England striker Rooney, asked if he was looking forward to the Europa League, told a live webchat on United's official website on Thursday: "Definitely.

"It's a shame we're out of the Champions League. That's what we all want to play in.

"Unfortunately we went out and now we turn our attention to the Premier League and Europa League.

"I don't think the manager (Alex Ferguson) has won the Europa League, so I'm sure he'll want to win it.

"Every competition we enter we want to win.

"There are some good teams but we have to believe, keep working and hopefully we can go on and win it."

The 26-year-old Rooney was also looking forward to the third round FA Cup tie against cross-town rivals Manchester City next month.

Table-toppers City, who lead reigning champions United by two points in the Premier League, won the Manchester derby 6-1 when the teams last met in October.

Rooney, speaking about the draw, said: "I was in my car at the time. I was driving from my house to Liverpool to see my mum and dad.

"When I got in I put the TV on and saw the draw.

"Both teams would probably rather have met each other later on but it's a great team to play in and if you win it then you know you've knocked one of your main competitors out."

United beat Wolves 4-1 following their shock loss in Switzerland but a season-ending knee injury for defender Nemanja Vidic and an indefinite break for midfielder Darren Fletcher, as he recovers from a bowel condition, have left Ferguson without two key players.

"The two of them are both important players for us," Rooney said.

"With Nemanja being our captain it's a shame we've lost him for the season as he's a great defender. But the younger lads have been great.

"It's a shame for Darren, too - he's a great player and a great person.

"Hopefully he gets well soon and comes back strongly for us."

Read more on:    europa league  |  wayne rooney
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