Chelsea 0 Man United 1: Sir Alex praises ‘tremendous’ Rooney
Manchester United boss thrilled with the striker's display after his side edge Chelsea at Stamford Bridge
Sir Alex Ferguson hailed Wayne Rooney’s contribution after the striker netted a valuable away goal to give Manchester United a Champions League triumph over Chelsea.
Rooney slotted home Ryan Giggs’ low cross to hand United a priceless lead to take back to Old Trafford for the quarter-final return leg next Tuesday.
Ferguson believes Rooney did well to put his recent disciplinary misery behind him and fire United to within touching distance of the semi-finals.
“Wayne just played his game,” said Ferguson. “He got a lot of abuse and late tackles but he played his game and that shows the courage of the players.
“He was important on the counter-attack and he was in tremendous form and he has given us a great chance of reaching the semis.”
Ferguson added: “He’s now been more regular with his goalscoring which, in the last part of the season, is going to be important to us.”
Chelsea were furious at not being awarded a penalty late on when Patrice Evra brought down Ramires as the Brazilian raced through on goal.
Referee Alberto Mallenco waved away Chelsea’s protests, but goalkeeper Petr Cech is convinced the Blues were denied a clear spot-kick.
“I think everybody saw what happened, you can see clearly on the TV,” he said. “But the most important person did not see it.”
He added: “We lost the game and we have left ourselves a mountain to climb but we have to do it.
“I think we created chances and that was the key. They had their first chance and scored and we had some but we didn’t score, and that’s the difference.”
And United centre-half Rio Ferdinand insists the referee was right not to point to the spot. “It evens itself out over the course of a season,” he said.
“I don’t think it was a penalty, maybe it should have been but they have ridden their luck here over the years so it was time we had some.”
Cech, Bosingwa (Mikel 78), Ivanovic, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Essien, Lampard, Zhirkov (Malouda 70), Drogba (Anelka 71), Torres.
Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Benayoun, Ferreira, Kalou.
Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva (Nani 51), Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park (Smalling 90), Hernandez (Berbatov 78), Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Scholes, Evans, Gibson.