Rooney makes apology for diving

Wayne Rooney
Ferguson said striker Rooney’s dive was out of character

Sir Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney apologised to him and opponents Villarreal for diving in Manchester United’s 0-0 Champions League draw.

The Spanish team’s players were angry after the striker went down in the box, despite no contact with the defender.

“He apologised to me and said he didn’t mean to do that,” said boss Ferguson.

“I think he’s been watching (Villarreal forward) Robert Pires too much. At least he apologised to their players. You’d never see Pires do that.”

Ferguson also said he believes that teams are fouling United’s Cristiano Ronaldo so often referees think the winger is diving.

A goallless draw was enough to put United into the knockout stages of the tournament.

Their opponents ended the game with 10 men after Joan Capdevila saw red for a foul on Ronaldo and afterwards Ferguson stated: “The systematic fouling on him, that’s what’s now happening.

“It’s a tactic. Eventually the referee thinks he’s diving all the time.”

Ronaldo had been a doubt for the match after limping out of Saturday’s goalless draw at Aston Villa but Ferguson said he was satisfied with the level of protection provided by referee Roberto Rosetti in Spain.

“The referee was very fair and strict with both teams,” added Ferguson.

“Capdevila may not have got that red card in England so there is a different interpretation of the physical aspect of the game in European matches.”

Stud marks were visible above Ronaldo’s knee following the challenge by the Villarreal defender and the United manager thought the referee had made the correct decision with the dismissal.

606: DEBATE

“When you see the tackle again, it was very high,” commented Ferguson. “When you go as high as that you risk a red card.

“There were three tackles on Cristiano and I think the referee has quite rightly booked the players and then dished out a red card.”

United and Villarreal have now contested four successive goalless draws in the Champions League.

“It is amazing in these four games we have not had a goal,” said the Scot.

“I do not know how that is because we are an attacking side and Villarreal have a great record themselves.

“I thought we carried a bigger threat than them. We had better opportunities in the match but we are satisfied we are into the next stage.

“That’s what we wanted to achieve. We have an advantage over Villarreal now.

“We have a home game against Aalborg and they have to go to Celtic so hopefully we can win the group.”

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