Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has warned his teammates to expect a backlash from Manchester United in Sunday’s FA Cup clash between the sides.
The Red Devils exited the Champions League in controversial circumstances in midweek, with Nani’s second-leg red card the main talking point of their last-16 defeat to Real Madrid.
He said: “This is a game for us to show character and react after this one (in Bucharest). It is going to be very difficult, like always. It is going to be one of our biggest challenges of the season: playing them at this moment. When you go out of the biggest competition in that way, it must be disappointing but they will be more motivated because of that.”
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney will hope to prove his worth to United after the England striker was dropped to the bench for United’s 2-1 loss to Madrid, sparking speculation that he could be set to leave the club.
However, manager Alex Ferguson has branded those reports “rubbish” and revealed that the 27-year-old will play a part today. “He’ll be involved on Sunday,” the manager said.
“(But) I’m not prepared to give away my team. Why should I? Why should I help anyone? We don’t do that,” he added. For United, Giggs will sit the game out and Ferguson is likely to turn to either Antonio Valencia or Ashley Young to fill one of the wide roles. Phil Jones (ankle) and Paul Scholes (knee) are both definitely out.