Ferguson to focus on Manchester United title bid

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Venue: Britannia Stadium Date: Sunday, 24 October Kick-off: 1330 BST
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Sir Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney
It was all smiles at Old Trafford on Friday when Rooney signed his new contract

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is determined to put the furore over Wayne Rooney behind him and focus on Sunday’s match at Stoke.

Ferguson is delighted Rooney has agreed to stay at Old Trafford but now wants to focus on reducing a five-point gap to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

“We have to start making up ground quickly,” the Scotsman admitted.

“We can only do that with everyone on board, with no one jumping ship. Then we can see the real Manchester United.”


Rooney appeared set to leave after rejecting new contract talks and questioning the club’s ability to mount a challenge for the major trophies, which prompted outrage from United fans and an attack on the striker’s home.

But in a sensational U-turn on Friday, 24-year-old Rooney agreed to remain with the club and apologised to Ferguson and the United players.

BBC's Ed Thomas

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Rooney ‘apologises to United colleagues’

The United boss, who has been at the helm at Old Trafford since 1986, believes Rooney’s apology will be accepted by all and said: “We have been hurt by events but Wayne has apologised to me and the players. He will do so with the supporters too.

“I always feel it is a quality in a person when they say they are sorry and realise they have made a mistake. That happens with young people.”

United need to find some winning form after drawing five of their eight Premier League games, during which they relinquished two-goal leads at Everton and then at home to West Brom.

Rooney will not feature at the Britannia Stadium as he is still sidelined by an ankle injury that is set to keep him out for up to three weeks.

Ferguson admits the recent events with Rooney have not been ideal preparation but remains optimistic.

“It has been a turbulent few days,” he told radio station Key103.

“We have important issues ahead, starting with Stoke City on Sunday. There is no problem with the players or myself. We are doing what is best for Manchester United.”

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