Rooney moves on from final goal

Wayne Rooney will never look back on his Champions League final goal at Wembley last May with any sense of satisfaction.

And the Red Devils are back in the game!

Rooney and his Manchester United team-mates are gearing up for their return to Europe's number one club competition, less than four months after that chastening defeat by Barcelona.

The one-sided manner of the contest has been impossible for United to ignore, even if Rooney's clinical effort just before half-time had brought hope of a Red Devils victory.

Lionel Messi and David Villa ensured that did not happen, rendering Rooney's goal pointless, even to the man who scored it.

"It was nice to score but it means nothing," he told MUTV.

"It is not a goal I will always look back on and remember.

"We lost the game, so I don't want to think about it too much. It just goes to the back of my mind. I want to help us win games."

Wednesday's encounter with Benfica in the Stadium of Light is a repeat of the 1968 final, which United won in extra-time.

Yet the showpieces of 2009 and 2011 have more relevance because they appear to place United a distant second to a Barcelona team many have now claimed to be one of the greatest ever.

Paul Scholes recently suggested United were "a million miles away" from reaching that level, an observation Rooney accepts on the evidence of that one night alone.

"It was a fair thing to say," he said.

"They are so difficult to play against. They have their midfield, then the forwards tuck in, so they outnumber you.

"It is hard to get the ball off them and when you do, you are tired from chasing around.

"We have to try and learn from the experience and believe, if we get there again, we will be better off for it.

"You have to applaud them for the way they played. They are a great team to watch.

"Our aim for us to reach that level over the next few years."

It is a tough ask, especially as stopping Barcelona revolves around preventing three of the best players in the world - Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta - making any significant impact.

There has been plenty of discussion about whether the technique of English players is good enough.

Rooney feels they would be better persevering with the high-octane game produced every week in the Premier League.

"Our identity comes from the way we play our football," he said.

"That is the way we should continue to play.

"Look at the success we have had over the years. We don't need to change the way we play.

"That night, Barcelona were the better team. On another day, we could have won.

"We have to keep working hard on the things we do well and make sure we do them better."

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