Rooney revelation overshadows home clash
London: Wayne Rooney will be absent when Manchester United face Bursaspor in the Champions League on Wednesday and, as Alex Ferguson revealed on the eve of the game, Old Trafford fans will almost certainly have to get used to it.
Rooney, who made his spectacular United debut against Turkish opposition with a hat-trick in a 6-2 thrashing of Fenerbahce in 2004, has told Ferguson of his desire to leave and the manager will not play him on Wednesday because of injury.
United fans should get a look at the future that awaits them with the Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov likely to partner Mexican striker Javier Hernandez up front.
But while all the talk in England has been of Rooney and the United forward line, Bursaspor will have been interested to note yet another example of United`s frailty in defence in their 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion at the weekend.
United had been looking comfortable at 2-0 up only to throw away victory and a fifth draw in eight Premier League games this season means they are already five points adrift of leaders Chelsea in fourth place.
They should get back to winning ways against Bursaspor, move to seven points and into a strong position to advance from Group C.
Ferguson, though, will be wary of another upset against Turkish opposition.
United lost at home to Besiktas last season in their first home European defeat for four years, although by then they had qualified for the knockout stages of the 2009-10 competition.
In 1996, Fenerbahce handed United their first home defeat ever in the Champions League/European Cup.
Bursaspor, however, are not in that class. They have lost their last six European games without scoring and have never scored in their five European away matches. In this campaign they lost 1-0 at Rangers and were thumped 4-0 at home by Valencia.
They also drew 2-2 at the weekend, against Karabukspor, and lead the Turkish league with 20 points from eight games.
Coach Ertugrul Saglam, whose Besiktas team was hammered 8-0 by Liverpool three years ago, travels to Old Trafford in a positive mood.
"United are going through a troubled time," he said. "There is no reason why we cannot return to Turkey with a surprise result."
Saglam, too, is involved in a delicate man-management issue. Winger Volkan Sen was left out of the squad against Karabukspor as punishment for travelling to the United States without permission, but he is expected to return to the side against United.
Manchester United: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 21-Rafael Da Silva, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 3-Patrice Evra; 24-Darren Fletcher, 16-Michael Carrick, 8-Anderson, 17-Nani, 9-Dimitar Berbatov, 14-Javier Hernandez.
Bursaspor: 27-Dimitar Ivankov; 21-Ali Tandogan, 4-Omer Erdogan, 38-Ibrahim Ozturk, 3-Gokcek Vederson; 10-Volkan Sen, 13-Gustav Svensson, 7-Federico Insua, 20-Ozan Ipek; 17-Pablo Batalla, 22-Turgay Bahadir.
Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Italy)