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Rooney: I went down to avoid studs-up blow

ESPN staff
April 3, 2014 « Mourinho snub leaves Torres facing Chelsea exit | Test Wayin World Cup »
Was it a red card?

Wayne Rooney has insisted he did not dive to get Bastian Schweinsteiger sent off in Manchester United's 1-1 Champions League quarter-final first-leg draw with Bayern Munich.

Schweinsteiger - who scored the European champions' equaliser at Old Trafford on Wednesday - was shown a second yellow card for a last-minute challenge on Rooney.

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola made a gesture to suggest the England international dived and later deemed his vice-captain's dismissal "unfair", while Schweinsteiger had words with Rooney before leaving the pitch.

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However, Rooney - who was injured playing against Bayern in 2010 - said he anticipated the contact from Schweinsteiger, and had to take evasive action to ensure he was not injured by the Germany midfielder.

"I don't really want to say what he said but I think it's a foul," said Rooney. "If I didn't get out of the way he could have hurt me, he's gone in with his studs and the referee has booked him, so it's not my decision.

"It's not nice to see anyone get sent off. I didn't try and get him sent off, the referee has made the decision. I have tried to stop myself from getting hurt and the referee has had a decision to make. "

Bayern were critical of Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, with sporting director Matthias Sammer accusing him of double standards for not sending off United's Antonio Valencia for a foul on Jerome Boateng before reducing the Bundesliga champions to 10 men.

Schweinsteiger will be suspended for next week's second leg, along with Bayern's record signing Javi Martinez, who was booked.

Rooney continued: "He's a great player and he's obviously someone they will miss with Martinez being suspended as well, but they have a great squad of players who can come in."

Rooney is now setting his sights on ending Die Roten's bid to become the first team in 24 years to retain the European Cup, although he admits United will be underdogs in the Allianz Arena.

"To go there with the chance to knock the holders out of the tournament is a great incentive to us," he said. "A result there will keep our season alive so we're looking forward to it and it's a massive challenge to us and we have to go and prove we are a good team.

"It will be tough, we will have to defend well again and they will have a lot of possession so we have to accept that and try and hit them on the break."

Rooney rued a first-half chance that his strike partner Danny Welbeck missed, but praised veteran centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic for their defiant displays as Bayern dominated possession but had comparatively few clear-cut chances.

"I thought the experience showed - Rio and Vida [Vidic] did really well," he added. "Defensively we were organised, we defended really well - we have some great players - and we had to and if we had been a bit more composed in front of goal we should have or could have won the game."

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