Friday, July 12, 2024

Man Utd´s Rooney vows this is just the beginning (SN)

England striker Wayne Rooney insisted that Manchester United's Champions League and Premier League double is only the beginning for Sir Alex Ferguson's latest star side.

United beat Chelsea on penalties to lift their second Champions League in nine seasons to add to the 10th Premier League crown they secured 10 days earlier.

And with young players like Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Anderson and Carlos Tevez in the side, the former Everton forward believes United can go on to dominate for years to come.

“We've got some fantastic young players, we don't want to stop here, we want to keep on winning more trophies,” he said.

“With the signings we made this year: Nani and Anderson are young players and Tevez is quite young as well.

“They've done brilliantly for us and next year they'll be even better.”

And Rooney claimed that United have also now mastered the art of playing in Europe after a number of disappointments since he joined the club four years ago.

In his first season they were eliminated in the first knock-out round by AC Milan and a year later United failed to even make it out of the group stages.

Last season they reached the semi-finals but a disastrous second-leg saw them beaten 3-0 by Milan in Italy and go out 5-3 on aggregate.

“In the last couple of years we've done well. Last season we were a bit unlucky but I think before that we'd been naive in the Champions League,” he said.

Ferguson echoed Rooney's optimism about the potential of this United squad as he vowed to be back at his desk on Friday morning to begin planning for next season.

“When you win something like this you have have to look in to the players eyes and make sure the hunger is still there. But we've got a young squad and once they have had an experience like this, they will want to do it again.

“Defending the trophy is not easy. But some of the players here will improve immeasurably next year and I hope we can defend it. I think they are good enough.

“Maybe (Paul) Scholes and (Ryan) Giggs are in the twilight of their careers now but they will still contribute next year. Ryan is 35 in November but I think he can play to 37, playing 20 to 25 games a season.

“It is the same for Paul, he is 34 and he will play 25-30 games because we have the back-up now.”

Midfield dynamo Owen Hargreaves said that despite the spate of signings last summer, when he, Nani, Anderson and Tevez were all brought to the club, he still expects Ferguson to go out and strengthen the squad.

And he said the aim will always be the same, to win everything.

“These are the expectations here and that's why I came here, I wanted to be part of something special,” said the Canadian-born former Bayern Munich player.

“We will look at it this summer and see what pieces we need to improve because we can always improve.”

Alongside goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, a winner with Ajax in 1995, Hargreaves was the second United player to win the title with a second club having lifted the trophy as a teenager with Bayern in 2001 – two years following the previous United victory.

“This was more difficult. When I was 19 I just went on out there. It was my first season and to come here eight (seven) years later, it's difficult to get here so it's a great achievement,” he said.

Hargreaves also won the Champions League on penalties last time out and he revealed that he tried to help his team-mates in those last nervous moments.

He was one of United's successful penalty takers.

“I just said to the lads 'visualise it, make a positive picture in your minds. That's all you've got to do – believe'.

“You can't have a negative picture in your mind. I was convinced I was going to score.”


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