Rooney and Rafael return for Man Utd before the Manchester derby
Manchester United have been given a boost with the return of Wayne Rooney and Rafael da Silva for the Manchester derby on Monday. Meanwhile, Nemanja Vidic and Jonny Evans are expected to feature in Manchester United’s starting line-up since the center-back were benched in the FA Cup quarterfinal replay defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Wayne Rooney is Manchester United’s top goal scorer in the Manchester derbies with 10 goals to his name. The England international has scored four goals in the last three Manchester derbies. However, Wayne Rooney has missed Manchester United last two games because of a groin injury which he picked up during international duty.
Rafael was also suffering from a groin injury. The Brazilian full-back was replaced by Jonny Evans in the 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Wayne Rooney and Rafael have started training with the team once again.
“Wayne and Rafa have started training this morning [Thursday] which is good news,” Sir Alex Ferguson said. “Hopefully, they will be fine by Monday. Jonny Evans and Nemanja Vidic are not there yet but, hopefully, they will start training maybe tomorrow or Saturday morning. We have a little bit of time on our hands to get most of the troops ready for the game.”
Sir Alex Ferguson believes the rivalry with Manchester City has increased over the past couple of years, since the two Manchester teams have now become rivals for the Premier League title.
“It's a derby game with a difference from a few years ago,” Sir Alex Ferguson continued. “We have to get used to playing Manchester City in big games and that's the case again.
“The important thing is to win Monday's game. It'll be a big game for City. They'll want to come and derail us for a spell. We're at home and our consistency is there for all to see. I expect us to perform really well on Monday.”
Manchester United possesses a 15-point lead over second-placed Manchester City on the Premier League table. The Red Devils have only dropped 13 points all season, yet Sir Alex Ferguson has asked his men to avoid complacency and stay alert till the end of the season.
“We have to congratulate our players on their consistency - to win 25 out of 30 games is a record and should be applauded,” Sir Alex Ferguson added. “It's fantastic. But we've still got to win the title. We have eight games left and that's 24 points to play for.
“The way we've approached things is the correct way and that's to win the next game. Hopefully, it takes us to winning the league. It doesn't matter what people say outside of the club, it's about what we think inside the club. We're always looking to do our best. It's been a good season for us.”