Manchester United great Wayne Rooney has opened up on the reason for the club failing to win more Champions League titles under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The Scottish legend himself admitted it’s the one regret of his career despite winning countless Premier League titles.
United dominated English football for a long period of time but their European domination doesn’t quite reflect the same success.
Rooney was at Old Trafford for a large chunk of his career but only won one Champions League trophy despite playing in three finals.
The Red Devils recently qualified for the competition under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s management by finishing in third place.
According to Utdreport, Rooney wrote in his column for the Times: “It’s always hard for a club like Real (Madrid) to go into a game saying ‘we’ll surrender the ball’
“It is the same for United. But we lost two Champions League finals going toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s Barcelona, by trying to press high and get round them, which was suicidal.
“I remember Alex Ferguson saying ‘we’re Man United and we’re going to attack, it’s in the culture of this football club’ and thinking ‘I’m not too sure about this’.
“I think all the players knew, deep down, it was the wrong approach, that we were abandoning the way that had brought us success in that 2008 semi-final — and sure enough both times we got outplayed.
“There is being true to the club, but then there’s sitting back afterwards and thinking ‘we lost’. For me, it doesn’t matter how you do it in these big Champions League games, as long as you win.”
There’s obviously truth to what Rooney is saying and it’d be interesting to hear Sir Alex’s thoughts in response as well.
At most points during the season, it does matter how a club plays and if the football is entertaining but at key moments all that matters is the three points or the win.
There are no guarantees Manchester United would’ve won those matches by playing defensively but had they done so and succeeded, no fan would’ve complained.
Nonetheless, Rooney and United enjoyed enough success together to not lament the lack of more Champions League medals too much.
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