The memory of Manchester United FC's exit last term, rather than home wins over AS Roma and AC Milan, occupied Wayne Rooney before the Giallorossi return.
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Wayne Rooney scored four times against Italian opposition last season but it was the memory of Manchester United FC's ultimate failure, rather than famous home victories against AS Roma and AC Milan, that occupied his mind as he looked forward to Roma's return to Old Trafford.
'Desperate to win'
The England forward said at the pre-match press conference that the frustration of United's UEFA Champions League semi-final loss to Milan had only enhanced his desire for European success. "I know one thing – I am desperate to win the Champions League having got so close last year," he said. "We didn't play the way we can and it cost us in the away leg against Milan. Hopefully we can get to the final this year and try to win it from there."
Yet to score
According to Rooney, United are better equipped for a strong finish this term – "that little bit more experience we have brought in will add that extra freshness towards the end of the season" – but the most pertinent question right now concerns United's start to the campaign. They have recorded just nine goals in eleven games with Rooney himself yet to score after breaking a metatarsal in their opening Premier League fixture.
"I've played three games now and hopefully I can start scoring again and help the team win games," said Rooney, who as well as recovering sharpness, is also getting used to his new partnership with Carlos Tévez. "Obviously when I play with Carlos it's a different role for myself," he explained. "I try and play on the shoulder a lot more and let him be the link between the midfield and the forwards which, of course, I am happy to do." While some have disputed his suitability as the attacking spearhead, Rooney argued: "Towards the end of last season, I was playing on the shoulder and got a few goals from doing that."
He will be hoping for more of the same against Roma but knows the Italian side will be "fired up" to avenge April's 7-1 humbling at Old Trafford. Asked how he would feel were he in the shoes of the Roma players, the 21-year-old's face broke out into a grin. "I'd be delighted as soon as I saw the draw," he said. "If it was me I'd be sitting there rubbing my hands and wouldn't be able to wait for the game."