Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is doing everything he can to lift his team-mates ahead of their must-win clash with Liverpool in the Europa League.
United trail their rivals 2-0 after a disappointing performance at Anfield in the round-of-16 first leg and will have to put in a monumental display to book their spot in the quarter-finals.
Their cause has not been helped by a knee injury to Rooney, who has missed the club’s last eight games.
Without him, their form has fluctuated and while Rooney – who only recently returned from a lay-off in Dubai – admitted to being frustrated, he said he had spoken at length with his team-mates ahead of Thursday’s clash to try and motivate them.
“It has been eight games I have missed and I didn’t realise it was that many,” he said.
“It’s been frustrating.
“There was a time when I couldn’t do anything. The manager, myself and the doctor thought it was better that I went away because that could only do me good in the up and coming weeks.
“But I have tried to be involved and I have spoken to the players a lot.
“I know it’s not the same as being out there on the pitch and being involved on match day and having an influence, but I have tried to help out.”
Rooney believes the first goal will be crucial at Old Trafford.
“I think Liverpool is going to be tough Thursday,” said Rooney.
“But two goals is doable.
“We have good players and the first goal will be important. If we get that, then we will be back in the game.”
Rooney said there was no planned return date as of yet as he continues his recovery, but he expected to be available for England’s Euro 2016 campaign, which kicks off in June.
“It’s going as planned,” said the England skipper.
“I don’t know for definite when I’ll be back, but it will be after the international break. Obviously I will miss the England games, but it shouldn’t be too long after that.
“It’s not too bad. We’re being a bit cautious. If I try and push and be involved now, it could cause more damage. So we’re being cautious.
“I’m hoping, depending on the two cups we’re still in, there could be 10 games left for United, plus the England games, so I don’t think that would be a worry.”