Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chelsea Buying Can Backfire ( Rooney

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chelsea Buying Can Backfire ( Rooney

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Stone

Wayne Rooney has claimed Chelsea's massive squad could prove a hindrance rather than a help in the latter stages of the Premiership title race.

As the dust settled on Sunday's showdown at Old Trafford, it has been suggested in many quarters that Manchester United's present squad is too small to maintain a title quest throughout the winter.

The problem is obvious because with Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo both doubtful for tomorrow's (correct) clash with Everton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Park Ji-sung definitely out and Alan Smith badly lacking fitness, Rooney (pictured left) could be the only orthodox forward available to Sir Alex Ferguson.

In contrast, Chelsea were able to bring on Joe Cole and Arjen Robben in Sunday's draw, while pounds 21m winger Shaun Wright-Phillips did not even make the bench.

Yet Rooney does not buy into the theory that Chelsea have a big advantage purely because of the number of players available to Jose Mourinho.

"The only real difference between the two clubs is that they have spent millions on players and some of those are sitting on the bench, whereas we haven't quite spent the amounts they have," said the 21-year-old.

"We said before the season having those players on the sidelines could unsettle them a little bit.

"We have young players on the bench, we are gelling together well and that can only be good for us."

In signing his massive new six-year contract, Rooney has stated his intention to land his first Premiership title with the Red Devils this season. However, while United retain a three-point lead and a better goal difference over their only realistic challengers, it has not gone unnoticed at Stamford Bridge that Ferguson's men still have to visit all their traditional rivals.

Not that Rooney is too concerned at that. In his view, big games at any venue are the ones that need to be won if ultimate glory is to be achieved next May.

"If you want to take the Premiership, you have to do well in those matches," said the England star. "If we can do that we will leave ourselves in a good position for the end of the season. …

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