Robben sees strength in United

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben thinks Manchester United’s team is just as strong as the one he played against with Chelsea three years go.

Robben was part of a Blues squad crowned champions of England in 2005 and 2006 before they were pipped to the domestic title by United in 2007 in the Dutchman’s final season with the London club.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have since gone on to win the Barclays Premier League twice more and lifted the European Cup in 2008 with victory over Chelsea in Moscow.

But United’s league hopes for this campaign suffered a blow over the weekend as Chelsea triumphed 2-1 at Old Trafford to move to the top of the table – a result which came just days after the Red Devils were beaten 2-1 by Bayern in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final at the Allianz Arena.

Having sat that game out with a calf strain, Robben is hoping to be fit to play against the old enemy once again in tonight’s return match.

And despite United’s recent problems, the 26-year-old is expecting them to provide as tough a challenge as ever.

Asked if he felt United had become weaker since he left Chelsea and English football, Robben said: "No, I don’t think that. They are a good team and that was seen in their results last year.

"Obviously Cristiano Ronaldo has left and he is a great player, but there are other players (at United) as well."

Robben departed the Premier League to join Real Madrid – as Ronaldo would do two seasons later – before moving on to Bayern last summer.

The midfielder has fond memories of his three years with Chelsea but has no regrets about how things have developed for him since then.

"It (the move to Real) was such a long time ago," Robben said.

"I had a great time at Chelsea but I also had an opportunity to go to another big club like Real Madrid.

"I’m happy with my career so far and I don’t think I left England too early."

Robben’s calf problem also kept him out of Bayern’s Bundesliga win over Schalke at the weekend but a late decision will be made on his fitness after he came through the first 15 minutes of a training session at Old Trafford on Tuesday which was open to the media.

Asked if he felt he could play a full part in tonight’s match, Robben said: "Yes, I hope so. I’m ready, I’m here and I didn’t travel just to be in the stands."

Wayne Rooney is a major doubt for United after he suffered an ankle ligament injury in the closing stages of last week’s match in Munich.

Yesterday Ferguson said there was "no chance" of Rooney featuring in the second leg – before admitting there was a slim chance the player could be involved as a substitute.

Rooney has 34 goals to his name so far this season, but Bayern coach Louis van Gaal insists he is not overly concerned whether the England striker plays or not.

Asked whether he thought Ferguson was trying to "play a game" by giving the impression Rooney would not be fit for tonight’s match, Van Gaal said: "I don’t think that will happen, but when we played Fiorentina we were faced with a different team than we thought and that does happen in the football business.

"(But) I don’t think Ferguson will do that, and I’d also like to say that we did win a game with Rooney (playing) – it’s not as if we can’t win when Wayne Rooney is playing for Manchester United. We don’t even need to win – a draw is fine."