Wayne Rooney denies he dived, claiming Bastian Schweinsteiger had gone in with his studs

United striker says it would rank as his greatest achievement in competition if Old Trafford side prevail


Wayne Rooney has denied he dived to get Bastian Schweinsteiger sent off during Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich on Tuesday, claiming he could have been badly injured after the German had "gone in with his studs".

The incident occurred in the closing seconds of the Champions League quarter-final, first leg at Old Trafford. Schweinsteiger, who had been booked earlier and scored Bayern's 67th-minute equaliser after Nemanja Vidic's goal, lunged at Rooney and although he appeared to make minimal contact with the striker, the referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo, deemed it a second yellow card offence, so issued the 29-year-old with the red.

An unhappy Schweinsteiger twice spoke to Rooney about the incident before walking off. The Liverpudlian did not want to be drawn on what was voiced. “I don’t really want to say what he said but I think it’s a foul,” Rooney stated.

“It could have gone either way. He could have hurt me, he’s gone in with his studs and the referee has booked him, so it’s not my decision. It’s not nice to see anyone sent off and I didn’t try to get him sent off. The referee has made a decision. I’ve tried to stop myself getting hurt.”

Schweinsteiger is suspended for Wednesday’s return leg along with Javi Martinez, although with Mario Gotze, who was rested, and Dante to return Pep Guardiola has options available.

Rooney said that although Bayern would miss the suspended pair, "they have got a great squad and players who will come in". He said it would rank as his greatest achievement in the competition should United prevail against the German champions, who have the advantage of an away goal.

'Tough ask'
"They are favourites and it will be a tough ask but we needed to give ourselves a chance and we have done that. We have to go and score and we are disappointed to have conceded but we defended really well as a team and probably had the better chances and are probably disappointed we didn't win."

Rooney believes that Bayern can be exposed by getting in behind them. “They play a high line and with a little more composure we can exploit that,” he added.

Danny Welbeck was given a golden chance to score against Bayern in the first half through such a ploy but the forward tried to dink the finish over Manuel Neuer rather than place it either side of the goalkeeper. Rooney said: “If we were a bit more composed in front of goal maybe we could have won the game. Danny had a good chance. We have watched videos of their goalkeeper and he’s a bit like Schmeichel, that he likes to come out of his goal, so it’s a bit disappointing that he tried to dink him and didn’t score but he will learn from that. I am sure if he gets a chance over there he won’t do that.”

Meanwhile, Bayern star Arjen Robben has labelled United's defensive display as being "like handball". United had only 26 per cent possession in the first leg at Old Trafford but still managed to come away with a 1-1 draw to take to next week's decisive second leg in Munich. Dutch winger Robben believes Bayern's away goal could prove crucial but warned that United should not be under-estimated.

'Not easy'
Robben said: "It was not easy, as Man United played very defensively and didn't leave any gaps. We wanted to play football but they tried to stop us, just playing on the counter-attack, it was almost like handball.

“Away goals are very important and that’s why we are satisfied having come back from 1-0 down, so we’ll take the result back home and hopefully finish it off next week. I didn’t really like the atmosphere before the game because everyone was saying you are going to win it, it’s going to be easy.

“No – you play at Old Trafford against Manchester United who are a top team and top players and the Champions League is something different, it’s not like the league. We have to bring in another top performance to beat them and it’s going to be very difficult.”

Midfielder Toni Kroos played down links with a move to United even though the Germany international has failed to agree a new contract.

He said in Munich's TZ newspaper: "It (Old Trafford) is a beautiful stadium. But I belong to Bayern Munich and that's good."
Guardian Service