Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney: We want to win the UEFA Champions League

1 Comment

Fresh off signing his new contract that makes him Manchester United’s highest paid player in history, start striker Wayne Rooney is ready to lead the Red Devils charge towards another UEFA Champions League title.

The Red Devils have won the famous trophy three times in their history, but there has been plenty of heartache in recent years as Rooney has reached three finals (2008, 2009 and 2011) with United but only lifted the title in ’08 when United beat Chelsea on penalty kicks in Moscow.

Speaking before United’s trip to Olympiakos, Rooney is desperate to win more Champions League titles and is urging his team to aim high this season, despite a terrible campaign thus far in the Premier League.

“To win one is never enough I think, especially at this club. You need to keep trying to get into these finals, we want to win,” Rooney said. “The feeling you get when you actually win this trophy is incredible, so there’s no way you want to stop at one. You want to win every year, obviously that is impossible. But if we can go to the final it would be great for us and it’s an opportunity to win the trophy, so hopefully we can do that.”

(MORE: Champions League Preview: Talent not the issue for United against Olympiakos)

With Rooney fired up and his partnership with fit-again Robin van Persie up and running, United look rejuvenated and now boast the extra attacking talents of Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj to support RVP and Rooney. But his trip to Olympiakos will be a tricky one, as the Athens-based club lead the way in the Greek top-flight and their fans are sure to create a hostile atmosphere on Tuesday night.

It’s safe to say United’s best performances this campaign have come in the Champions League, as David Moyes’ side breezed through the group stages with four wins ans two draws from their six matches. Despite poor form in the PL which sees them languishing down in sixth place, United are the clear favorites for this clash against their Greek opponents.

The fact that Rooney is earmarking a deep run in the UCL this season shows confidence and belief is high in the United camp, so can they keep their good European form going on Tuesday night? It seems like their only chance of qualifying for next years competition is if they win the Champions League, as fourth place is a long way away in the PL.

So, it’s a case of all or nothing from here on out for the Red Devils.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely for the winner takes all second legs. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Grimsby Town vs. Derby County
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

Premier League clubs on League Cup upset alert

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The second round of the League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup in 2017-18 for sponsorship reasons) kicks off on Tuesday with 13 Premier League clubs in action.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live ]

All 13 have been drawn against lower-league opposition and those klaxons you can hear signify upset alerts.

Below is a look at how each Premier League club will get on as they enter the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with a ranking on each game out of 10, with 10 being the most likely for an upset to occur.

Remember: the seven PL teams in European competition will enter the League Cup in the third round.


Upset alert ranking for PL clubs

Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 8/10
Brighton vs. Barnet – 4/10
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom – 7/10
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City – 6/10
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth – 7/10
Watford vs. Bristol City – 5/10
MK Dons vs. Swansea City – 5/10

Wednesday
Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest – 6/10
Southampton vs. Wolves – 7/10
Huddersfield Town vs. Rotherham United – 7/10
Cheltenham vs. West Ham United – 8/10
Stoke City vs. Rochdale – 6/10
Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley – 6/10