SAF: No pressure on United medics

After declaring Rooney had “no chance” of being involved barely 24

hours before the game, Ferguson named the England star in his

starting line-up for the quarter-final second leg tie. Ferguson

confirmed the decision had only been taken following consultation

with his medical team and Rooney, who all agreed the risk to the

ankle he damaged during the first leg in Munich a week previously

was minimal. As it turned out, Rooney went over on the same ankle

in the first half and was clearly struggling before Ferguson

substituted him with over half an hour remaining following the

dismissal of Rafael. Ferguson is confident the 24-year-old will be

fit for the Manchester derby at Eastlands on April 17, although he

is unlikely to make Sunday’s trip to Blackburn. That assessment

should at least ease the concerns of England manager Fabio Capello,

who was at Old Trafford last night, with Ferguson adamant the

correct procedures had been followed. “I never force the medical

staff into anything,” said Ferguson. “Their job is difficult. It is

important they make the right decisions about players’ fitness.

They made the right decision. The medical staff did not see any

problem.” Although Rooney did not add to his 34 goals, he was a

central figure in United’s flying start, that seemed certain to

secure a semi-final berth. His presence alone galvanised the Old

Trafford crowd, which Ferguson also recognised as he went through

his starting line-up. “Wayne was keen to have a go and it did have

an impact on the crowd,” said the United boss. “It gave them all a

lift.”