The Scot will be without his two first choice strikers on Tuesday evening and has insisted that the club are aiming to win the competition after two final defeats in three years
By Jonathan Birchall
Rooney missed the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw away to Stoke on Saturday while Chicharito was forced off at the Britannia Stadium after picking up a dead leg less than five minutes in. Therefore, Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen are expected to start up front, with Danny Welbeck also pushing for a start.
Speaking about Rooney, Ferguson admitted that he couldn’t give a timescale on when the England international would return to first-team action but completely ruled him out for the side’s first home game in this season’s Champions League.
He told reporters: “He’s not playing tomorrow. It’s difficult to assess with hamstrings but we hope we have him back quickly. He did a bit of jogging this morning but that’s all.”
The Premier League champions have reached the final of the competition three times in the last four years but lost to Barcelona on the last two occasions, going down to Pep Guardiola’s men in Rome in 2009, as well as at Wembley last season.
As a result of their defeats to the Camp Nou outfit, Ferguson has quashed talk that is it a golden period for the club in the competition.
“The Champions League is the best competition in the world now, better than the World Cup, better than the European Championships, it’s a fantastic tournament,” he said. “But it’s not a golden period for us because we have lost two finals, so I don’t think it can be called a golden period.
“We have been consistent in the Champions League, our form away from home has been outstanding and we hope we can do better this year and win it, that’s the aim of this club all the time.”
The United boss also spoke of his respect for the club’s opponents on Tuesday, Swiss champions Basel.
He said: “We played Basel a few years ago and they have always been the premier team in Switzerland. Switzerland have started to produce good young players – in fact they got to final of the European Under-21s this year.”The national team has always been reasonably good and always seemed to represent themselves quite well and of course the Basel team have good experience of being in Europe quite a few times so we will respect that.”