Rooney: We want to win Europa title
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has set his sights on winning the UEFA Europa League. United will play in Europe's second-tier competition in the new year after being sent crashing out of the UEFA Champions League by Basel last week.
While that came as a shock to a club that has played in three of the past four Champions League finals, Rooney does not want to dwell on that disappointment any longer. The 26-year-old wants to make the most of the challenges that remain this season and, as well as defending the Premier League title, that includes Europa League success.
When asked today if he was looking forward to playing in the Europa League, Rooney said: "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's 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."
Rooney was speaking to the club's website, www.manutd.com, in a live webchat with supporters. The United talisman is also not fazed by the prospect of facing arch-rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup third round next month.
City won 6-1 last time the sides met and with the teams first and second in the Premier League, the tie was the undoubted highlight of the cup draw. Rooney 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 bounced back from their defeat in Switzerland by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-1 last weekend but a serious injury to Nemanja Vidic and a further enforced absence for Darren Fletcher have dampened spirits. Defender and captain Vidic will miss the rest of the season with knee ligament damage while midfielder Fletcher is taking an indefinite break to recover from the bowel condition ulcerative colitis.
Rooney said: "The two of them are both important players for us. 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."