Rooney: We blew it
Wayne Rooney thinks Manchester United blew a great opportunity to win the FA Cup this season.
United were knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stages on Tuesday morning (Singapore time) thanks to Arsenal's 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
The defeat was hard to take for Rooney and his teammates. The club have now gone 11 years without winning the FA Cup and it is the only domestic competition Rooney has not won.
United would have been expected to beat either Bradford or Reading in the next round if they had progressed, and given that they were the highest-ranked team left in the competition, they would have been favourites to lift the trophy in May.
"I want to win the cup for and with the team; it's not about me wanting to win the FA Cup," the United captain told MUTV.
"That's why it's so sad for us to get knocked out; we knew we'd have a great opportunity if we'd won."
Rooney speared a fantastic diving header past Wojciech Szczesny to make it 1-1 four minutes after Nacho Monreal's opener.
But any hopes of United making a Wembley semi-final were dashed when Danny Welbeck scored against his old club just after the hour and Angel di Maria was given a second yellow card for tugging the back of referee Michael Oliver's shirt.
OUT OF SORTS
The Argentinian has been out of sorts after a blistering start to his Old Trafford career which saw him score three goals and assist four more in his first five games.
United boss Louis van Gaal refused to defend the 27-year-old, saying his dismissal cost his team the match.
He said: "I think he's touched the referee and that's forbidden in every country, so he has no excuses...
"We gave it (the game) away. That's the most disappointing aspect of this game - we didn't lose because of our opponents, we lost because of ourselves."
Despite di Maria's travails, former Red Devils stalwart Rio Ferdinand believes the £59.7 million ($124.4m) man is ideally suited for the English game.
He told Goal.com: "I thought di Maria was a great signing for United and I still think he was a good signing.
"He was arguably Real's best player last year, him and Cristiano Ronaldo were their standout players.
"But it always takes time for a player to adapt to his new surroundings, especially when you go to a foreign league.
"Not every player can be like Ronaldo and just turn up and instantly become a superstar. Maybe it will take di Maria a bit longer. It might take him a year, you never know.
"But his style does suit the Premier League. He is quick, runs at people, hungry to create chances and commit people. I think he is a very talented player and I like him."
Another United player who has struggled this season is Adnan Januzaj.
After a breakout season in 2013/2014, he has struggled badly this term, and like di Maria, was booked for diving against Arsenal.
His theatrics not only earned him a caution but also a growing reputation for simulation.
Already, he has been booked for diving five times in all competitions in his short career, and over the last two seasons he has been cautioned more for diving per minute played in the EPL than anyone else.
He gets a booking for simulation every 801 minutes and has more yellows for diving than goals scored (four).
Manchester United are the only team with two players in the top seven of the diving table (see below) with Ashley Young fifth with earning himself a booking every 1,152 minutes.
- Wire Services.
Diving into trouble
Players with the most cautions for simulation per minute played in the EPL over the last two seasons.
PHOTO: REUTERS, AFP, ACTION IMAGES/ CARL RECINE
1 Adnan Januzaj
- One every 801 minutes played
2 Emanuele Giaccherini
- One every 822 minutes played
3 Diego Costa
- One every 890.5 minutes played
4 Danny Ings
- One every 1,070.5 minutes played
5 Ashley Young
- One every 1,152 minutes played
6 Ross Barkley
- One every 1,828 minutes played
7 Yaya Toure
- One every 2,360 minutes played