Manchester United v Liverpool: Sir Alex Ferguson defends Wayne Rooney

13 March 2009 01:19
The comments were made on MUTV in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday night's Champions League win over Inter Milan and were eventually removed from United's official website yesterday afternoon for fear of inflaming passions ahead of tomorrow's encounter.

'I'm very excited about the game because I grew up as an Everton fan hating Liverpool. And that hasn't changed!

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'We're in pole position in the title race and we know if we can beat Liverpool, then that will more or less end their chances of winning the League.'

As an Everton supporter, a former Everton player and a member of Manchester United's Champions League-winning team, Rooney has always been a target for abusive Liverpool fans.

And it is little surprise to learn that the feeling of antipathy is a mutual one.

However, Ferguson has claimed that Rooney was guilty of little more than an injudicious turn of phrase.

'Hate is an easy word to say, easier than dislike. Maybe it is not the right word,' said Ferguson.

'But Wayne has had plenty of stick from Liverpool fans over the years, so it is understandable.

'He supported Everton as a kid and the rivalry between them and Liverpool is pretty ferocious now. Since then he has come to Manchester United and he wants to win.

'It is nothing out of the ordinary really.'

Ferguson has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the eagerly anticipated contest and will be picking from virtually a full strength squad when United bid to record a 12th starlight Premier League win.


Source: Telegraph