UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Sir Alex hails Rooney 'courage'

Sir Alex Ferguson praised Wayne Rooney's "courage" after his late penalty won Manchester United FC a last-16 berth in a game that left Rangers FC's Walter Smith "disappointed".

Sir Alex hails Rooney 'courage'
Sir Alex hails Rooney 'courage' ©UEFA.com

Manchester United FC manager Sir Alex Ferguson heaped praise on Wayne Rooney after the fit-again striker capped his first start for the club since 26 September with the 87th-minute penalty that clinched United's progress from Group C. Sir Alex is now keen to "go on and win the group" at home against Valencia CF on Matchday 6, when Rangers FC can do nothing to alter the fact they will finish third – though manager Walter Smith is "happy in one respect" to be assured of UEFA Europa League football.

Walter Smith, Rangers manager
I'm a little bit disappointed to lose to a goal like that. Maybe in general play we had a couple of chances just after half-time, and if we'd got one of them maybe we might not have felt as bad. I'm disappointed for the effort that our boys had to put in to get anywhere near a result like that, and it was disappointing to lose in that manner. Staying in Europe after Christmas is what we would have looked at as achievable so we're happy in one respect.

Sir Alex Ferguson, United manager
It took courage for Wayne Rooney to take the penalty; it wasn't the easiest night for him, having missed a couple of chances. There's still some rustiness in his game. Every time he scores a goal he wants to celebrate with the fans and players. We deserved to win tonight and I think we want to go on and win the group. We have Valencia at home and maybe we'll make one or two changes, but we'll look forward to that. We have done it time and time again over the years, marrying domestic and European challenges, and we will do it again.