Wayne Rooney believes that Manchester United can approach Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich in confident mood after their comfortable 4-1 victory over Aston Villa.
Rooney scored twice, with Juan Mata registering his first goal for the club and Javier Hernandez also finding the target as United cancelled out an early Villa goal from Ashley Westwood in Saturday’s game.
The build-up to the fixture had been dogged by talk of supporter protests against United manager David Moyes, and a plane was flown over Old Trafford during the game towing a banner calling for him to be replaced.
But Rooney felt that the victory, as well as the size of the challenge facing United against European champions Bayern, can serve as an inspiration for his faltering club.
“It is a massive game,” said the England striker. “The quarter-final of the Champions League, against the champions. We are excited and looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good game and hopefully a good result.”
Rooney’s brace against Villa took him to 171 career goals in the Premier League — fourth on the all-time list — but the striker preferred to discuss a victory that arrested United’s recent crisis.
“Obviously that is great, but today (Saturday) was a big game for us,” he added. “After (losing 3-0 to Manchester City) mid-week, we had to respond and show what a good team we really are.”
Right-back Rafael da Silva suffered a first-half leg injury against Villa, forcing him to be substituted and making him a doubt for Tuesday’s game with Bayern.
The Brazilian’s absence would be especially problematic as his likely replacement, Antonio Valencia, missed the Villa game with tendonitis.
“We have a lot of defenders missing,” Moyes said.
“We will have to wait and see how they are tomorrow. We need to check Rafael out and Valencia has tendonitis in his knee, which is why he wasn’t available. I knew if we lost a full-back we could be struggling today.”
With Patrice Evra suspended against Bayern, Moyes could have Alexander Buttner as his only fit specialist full-back for the Bavarians’ visit.
One selection dilemma that faces Moyes is whether to keep Japanese international Shinji Kagawa in his starting line-up after he impressed against Villa.
“I thought Shinji played very well at West Ham (a 2-0 win) last week,” said Moyes. “Today he made a really good pass for Juan for the penalty kick (Rooney’s second goal).
“I’m pleased and we want to see more from Shinji in those situations. That’s the type of player he is. He’s technically gifted and can create situations.”