Rooney wants to see the real Man Utd against Cluj
United head to Romania still smarting from a first league defeat to Tottenham in 23 years on Saturday, while they were less than convincing in their opening European outing against Galatasaray two weeks ago - a scratchy 1-0 home win.
Victory at the Stadionul Gruia, however, would go a long way to assuring Sir Alex Ferguson’s side a place in the knockout stages. And that at least would be one box ticked for this campaign following last season’s embarrassing early exit.
And Rooney urged his side to leave nothing to chance by throwing everything they’ve got at the Romanian champions.
“The Champions League is completely different to the Premier League,” said the star striker, who is set to make his first start since returning from a thigh gash.
“If you are not at your best you get punished, which is what happened to us last season. We have to make sure that won’t happen again this year so this is a big game for us.
“Hopefully we will get a win which will put us in a good position to go through so early on in the group.”
United received some good news yesterday when Jonny Evans was included in the travelling party, despite suffering a knock to his leg in the shock defeat to Spurs on Saturday.
Fergie claimed the Northern Ireland star was never a doubt, but with so many defenders already injured, there was a worry Evans was about to join the casualty list.
The manager did opt to leave experienced trio Michael Carrick, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes at home, with young guns Scott Wootton and Michael Keane named instead.
Whether that was a wise move on the United boss’ part up against a Cluj outfit, who impressed during a 2-0 win at Braga in their Group H opener, remains to be seen. Although, CFR president Iuliu Muresan certainly thinks it could backfire, saying: “We can beat Manchester United. We have reached the necessary level and we are not afraid of anyone.
“United will travel to Cluj after a lucky victory against Galatasaray and a defeat in the Premier League. Hopefully we can profit from this and achieve a big result.
“The match against Manchester United is the most important game in our history because it will be played against the biggest club which has ever come to Cluj.”