WAYNE ROONEY believes Manchester United were guilty of panicking against PSV Eindhoven in a stark critique of the failings that have left their Champions League hopes on a knife-edge.
The United captain admits an “all or nothing” showdown with Vfl Wolfsburg now awaits in Germany on December 8 as Louis van Gaal’s side stare at the indignity of dropping into the Europa League.
The goalless stalemate at Old Trafford on Wednesday represented a huge setback to United’s aspirations of reaching the knock-out stages of the competition and laid bare their shortcomings.
Rooney saw chances squandered in the first-half before United ran aground creatively as their midfield malfunctioned with the striker delivering a biting assessment of their inadequacies.
“Probably the result was a fair one,” said Rooney. “In the first half we were the better team and created a few decent chances, and maybe were unlucky not to come in at the break one up.
“[In the] second half we didn’t show enough composure on the ball, they changed their system and made it difficult for us and we failed to adapt to that.
“In the second half it was a lack of composure more than quality. There were occasions we could have put our foot on the ball and controlled it a bit more but we were a bit panicky at times which allowed them to get back into the game.”
It was, in many ways, a remarkable admission for a team as expensively assembled as United with Van Gaal’s substitutions failing to rouse the hosts from their malaise.
A victory over Wolfsburg is likely to be required if Van Gaal’s side are avoid slipping into Europe’s secondary competition given PSV host CSKA Moscow, who have already been eliminated.
United have yet to win away from home on their travels in the competition proper this term, but Rooney knows that must change.
He added: “It is a disappointing result overall and leaves us with a tough game in Germany now, but we believe we can go there and win.
“When it comes down to the last game you can’t pick and choose and say, ‘We want to finish first or second’. It’s all or nothing.
“We have to win. That is the aim and that is what we need to do.”
Increasingly, the worry for United will be who is going to provide the cutting edge with Anthony Martial without a goal since the 1-1 draw with CSKA on October 21, Memphis Depay still struggling to justify his £31m pricetag and Rooney having scored once since the middle of last month at club level.
Former United midfielder – and Van Gaal’s nemesis – Paul Scholes said: “You look at these teams across Europe, your Bayern Munichs, your Barcelonas, it’s the players up front who make the difference.”
CREDIT: EXPRESS DAILY