Wayne Rooney insists lifting a second European Champions League trophy with Manchester United is not far from reality, judging by the club’s form in Europe this season.
But while the England international sees a thin ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for the struggling Premier League defending champions, he also says he and his teammates must take responsibility for their poor league position this season.
United face Greek champions Olympiacos on Tuesday in the first leg of their last-16 tie and look to maintain their unbeaten run in Europe this season in Athens.
“We have the quality to go really far. The main aim is to get the right result tomorrow.
“To win one is never enough, especially at United. You always want to win. You can’t stop at one,” said Rooney at a press briefing at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Monday.
“We’ve been excellent in Europe this season. Hopefully we can take that into the game & that helps us get the result.”
David Moyes’ side have won two, drawn two and lost one of their last league games and lie 11 points short of fourth-placed Liverpool on the league standings.
With 11 matches of the English season left, the race to feature in Europe’s elite competition next season remains a huge risk for the club, who last lifted the title in 2008 and were runners-up to Barcelona both in 2009 and 2011.
The 28-year-old, who recently signed a new five-and-a-half year deallast week, added: “The year Chelsea won it, they nearly went out of the competition about three times.
“We’ve got quality in the team to go far, so hopefully we can do that.”
United are sixth on the log, 15 points adrift of leaders Chelsea in Moyes’ first season at the club. Rooney says he and his teammates should be blamed for their obvious dip in form and not the manager.
“As a group of players, we have to take responsibility for the league position we are in,” continued Rooney.
“We’re better than that. As a team, it hurts when you know you can do better.”
“It’s important we finish the season strongly and we take momentum into next year but more importantly get into fourth spot and do well in the Champions League.”
Meanwhile, Scotsman Moyes confirmed that Phil Jones (hip) and Jonny Evans (calf) have not traveled to Athens for Tuesday’s cracker. Rafael da Silva and Danny Welbeck are both fit after injury.
Record signing Juan Mata is cup-tied after playing in the competition with Chelsea.
“Everybody else (aside the aforementioned trio) is here,” adds Moyes.