Wayne Rooney yearns for more Champions League glory

2014-02-25 08:45

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Piraeus – Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has admitted he will not be satisfied if he finishes his career without lifting the Champions League trophy again.

Rooney, who signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract earlier this week, tasted glory in the competition with United in 2008, before finishing on the losing side in the final against Barcelona in 2009 and 2011.

United have not looked like potential European champions this season, falling 15 points off the pace in the Premier League and crashing out of both domestic cup competitions, but Rooney says their objectives remain the same.

“You always want to win it,” he said yesterday, on the eve of the first leg of United’s last-16 tie away to Greek champions Olympiakos in Piraeus.

“To win one is never enough, especially at this club. You need to keep trying to get into finals.

“The feeling you get when you actually win the trophy is incredible, so there’s no way you want to stop at one. You want to win every year.

“Obviously that’s impossible, but if we can go to the final, it’d be great for us. It’s an opportunity to win another trophy, so hopefully we can do that.”

United centre backs Phil Jones and Jonny Evans have not travelled to Greece due to injury and record signing Juan Mata is cup-tied, but manager David Moyes has an otherwise strong squad to select from.

United will start as favourites against a team who last reached the quarterfinals in 1999, but with Olympiakos having pipped Benfica to a place in the knockout phase, Moyes says that they must be respected.

“Olympiakos have done very well against Paris Saint-Germain in the games I’ve watched, and Benfica,” he said.

“They came through in a difficult group, they’ve got a great home record here, so we know it’s a difficult night. They’ve a big support. It’s a tough game.”

With United 11 points adrift of Liverpool in the race for a top-four place in the league, they may need to win the Champions League to qualify for next season’s competition, but Rooney believes the Olympiakos tie can act as a springboard to a successful run-in.

“As a group of players, we have to take responsibility for our league position,” said the 28-year-old England striker.

“We know we’re better than that and we haven’t performed as well as we know we can do. We know that and as a team it hurts when you know you can do better.

“It’s important that we finish the season strongly and take that momentum into next year, but more importantly we try and get into that fourth spot and try and do well in the Champions League. It’s important to us all.”

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