Papers: Rooney unfazed
Rooney unconcerned by erratic displays
Wayne Rooney has said he is not unduly concerned about Manchester United's erratic performances as long as they continue the run of results that has put them in a commanding position in the three major competitions. Rooney admitted the 0-0 draw at Marseille on Wednesday did "not make great viewing" but the striker was not too downbeat about a performance that went a long way to justifying Didier Deschamps' observation that Sir Alex Ferguson's team do not play with the same "fantasy" as previous years. "I hope we make amends in the second leg and turn on the style but at this stage of the competition you have to look to win the game over two legs," Rooney said. "I watched the Arsenal and Tottenham games [against Barcelona and Milan] and they were great games. But for us the win is the most important thing, rather than how we do it. Nil-nil can be a dangerous score if they were to score at Old Trafford but we're confident of beating them at home so we've got to be positive. Marseille didn't pose too many problems and I'm sure we can play better at home." The trip to Marseille was the first in a run of four away matches for United. "We've got three massive games coming up now at Wigan, Chelsea and Liverpool and then maybe Arsenal in the FA Cup [if they beat Leyton Orient in a fifth-round replay] so it is a massive time for us."Daniel Taylor, The Guardian
The Independent also quotes Rooney on the Marseille draw, but incorporates further reaction from Nani. On next month's second leg against L'OM, the Portuguese warns: "We need to make sure we are positive and strong from the start and do our best to try and score an early goal."
Praise continues to flood forth for Chris Smalling. The Independent and Mirror feature pieces on the 21-year-old's impressive debut season, including the defender's concession that "when Rio (Ferdinand) got injured, it was time for me to step up to the plate."