Football: Manchester United need to win a trophy, says captain Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney reacts after the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney reacts after the English Premier League football match between Sunderland and Manchester United. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON • Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney believes the club need to end their trophy drought by winning either the Europa League or the FA Cup to get their fans back on board.

Knocked out of the Champions League and six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City in the Premier League, United face Danish side FC Midtjylland in the Europa League tomorrow before a trip to third-tier Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup.

United last won a trophy in 2012-13, when they romped to the Premier League title in Alex Ferguson's last season in charge, and have struggled so far under manager Louis van Gaal.

Saturday's 1-2 defeat by Sunderland led the Dutchman to all but rule out their chances of finishing in the top four.

He even suggested winning the Europa League would be United's best chance of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

"The important thing now, I feel, is to win trophies again this season," Rooney told British media.

"Obviously the Champions League is massive for this club and it was disappointing to go out of it. But our main aim has to be to make sure we can get in that top four."

United failed to emerge from the Champions League group stages and slipped into the Europa League, an outcome derided by fans and former players alike.

Rooney, however, said the club could not afford to take the opportunity to win silverware lightly.

"It would be great if we can win (the Europa League)," he added. "It's not where we wanted to be at the start of the season but it's where we've found ourselves so why not go and try to win it. This is more or less a new team so for ourselves, as a team, we need to win something.

"The fans want to see us win something again."

United fans have not seen their side lift the FA Cup since 2004, and vice-captain Michael Carrick has labelled that drought an annoyance.

The midfielder is in his 10th year at Old Trafford, and has won every major trophy with United, except the oldest Cup competition in the world and the Europa League.

"It's been too long for this club, far too long, really, after winning it so many times over a number of years and it's something we need to put right," he said of the 11-time FA Cup champions.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2016, with the headline 'We need to win a trophy: Rooney'. Print Edition | Subscribe