Giggs swears team will be United by Rooney ban
Ryan Giggs says Manchester United were “bamboozled” by Wayne Rooney’s ban but claimed it would serve only to make them stronger.
The FA upheld Rooney’s two-match suspension for swearing after United appealed against the severity of the ban, arguing the punishment did not fit the crime.
Giggs said everyone at United was stunned by the FA’s decision to punish Rooney for his foul-mouthed outburst and suggested he had been singled out simply because of his profile.
“I’m not surprised [by the ban] because of the profile Wayne has got,” said Giggs. “But a two-match ban? Yeah, I’m surprised about that.
“It had just never been done before [a player being charged for swearing]. There was no precedent for it and that’s why we were bamboozled by it.
“But it’s one of those things, you’ve just got to get on with it. Obviously we’ll lose him for two games but he’ll be back against Chelsea next Tuesday.
“We can moan about it, but we’ve got too many games coming up to dwell on it.”
Asked if such episodes, like Sir Alex Ferguson’s five-match touchline ban, served to unify United’s squad and increase their desire, Giggs said: “Maybe it does. But a lot more is made of it away from the club.
“We’re in the changing-room as players and we just want to concentrate on football.
“That’s where experience of the staff and the older players, and the manager of course, comes in.”
Despite Rooney’s anger at his suspension, which means he will miss the Wembley FA Cup semi-final showdown with Manchester City a week tomorrow, Giggs said the 25-year-old had shown his strength of character by putting in a match-winning display against Chelsea.
Rooney’s precious away goal, combined with United’s clean sheet at Stamford Bridge, has put them in pole position to advance to the semi-finals at the expense of Chelsea when the two sides meet for the return leg at Old Trafford next Tuesday.
United defender Rio Ferdinand claimed Rooney should be cherished by the country rather than lambasted. He said: “I think sometimes you’ve got to put things into perspective,” said Rio. “I don’t condone swearing into a TV camera but there is so much else going on in the world.
“There are people being killed in Libya and Ivory Coast, wars going on and Wayne Rooney swearing is on the front pages. It doesn’t make any sense.
“Against Chelsea showed you what sort of talent he is as a footballer. It’s something this country should cherish.
“People get themselves into scrapes throughout their career - no-one’s perfect. But I’d much rather see him being reported on his football abilities and if he keeps playing like he is I’m sure he will.
“I think sometimes people want to make up too many rules when you don’t really need them. I’m sure there’s some support for Wayne but more people want to string him up
“It’s not do as you want, because there’s got to be a barrier as to what you can do. But even the slightest things like taking your shirt off when you score a goal. What is the problem with that?
“I don’t understand why that has been banned. Why? Can someone can explain that to me? It’s going to get a few more birds in the stadiums.”
Another of United’s stars, Portuguese winger Nani risked upsetting United supporters when he claimed: “When we score goals, the celebration is for us, not for fans or other people.
“But Wayne is a superstar and everyone focuses on him when he does something, which is difficult.
“I don’t think about what people think about us. I just focus on my job and I want the team to be focused as well. All we want to do is show that we are the best.
“Every year, we fight against these things. A lot of people like Manchester United but, on the other side, it’s normal for people to have another opinion and speak bad about us.
“In that case we have to be strong and try to win every game. That’s all we need to do.”
Rooney’s former England boss Steve McClaren said: “Every player has his upsides and his downsides. Wayne Rooney is no exception.
“No one is more of a disciplinarian than Ferguson. He has taken Wayne Rooney over the last four, five years and developed him from a young player who was totally out of control into one who is growing and maturing into a great footballer. Occasionally you are going to get things where he steps over the mark.
“He is competitive, he is aggressive and he is a winner. You can’t take that away from him.
“I remember once trying to do that with Roy Keane. I said ‘Look, you are missing five or six games through suspension every season, calm down a little’.
“He did for six months and it was hopeless. [We said] ‘Get back to normal, we’ll miss you for five or six games’.
“We accepted hat because we know in the others he would win the games.
“It’s similar with Wayne Rooney. You’ve got to accept the rough with the smooth.”
Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini admits his team will be one of the main beneficiery’s of the decision to ban Rooney.
The striker will miss the FA Cup semi-final against their neighbours at Wembley and mancini said: “Rooney is a strong striker, he is important for them. But United is a strong team, even without Rooney.
“At the start of the season, Rooney didn’t play for United and they were still strong. At this moment, he is not 100% - he is 200%. But even without him they are a strong team.
“I don’t know if it’s the wrong punishment, I just feel when there are important games it is better that all the top players play.
“I don’t know about this situation. I still think it will be a very good game without Rooney.
“In 20 years I don’t remember anything like this. I think there might have been one player in Italy.
“We know Rooney can change a game at any moment like when we played at Old Trafford.
“That day we deserved to draw or to win and Rooney scored a fantastic goal.
“But what is important is the team, not just one player.”