MANCHESTER – Wayne Rooney has called on Manchester United to bounce back from their defeat to Tottenham when they take on CFR Cluj in the Champions League (live on FOX Soccer , 2:30pm ET).
After their Premier League hot streak came to an abrupt end on Saturday, Manchester United aim to ensure there are no nasty surprises in Transylvania on Tuesday.
United take on Romanian champions CFR Cluj in the Champions League smarting from their first home defeat to Tottenham for 23 years, yet knowing if they can return to England with maximum points, they will have one foot into the knock-out stages.
And that at least would be one objective for the season completed after last season's unexpected exit at the group phase.
"The Champions League is completely different to the Premier League," said Wayne Rooney.
"If you are not at your best you get punished, which is what happened to us last season.
"We have to make sure that won't happen again this year so this is a big game for us.
"Hopefully we will get a win which will put us in a good position to go through so early on in the group."
Sir Alex Ferguson has changed preparations this season.
It means United have delayed their departure in order to have a final training session at their Carrington HQ before flying to Romania.
That session allowed the United boss to check on the fitness of center-half Jonny Evans.
The Northern Ireland international limped out of the Spurs clash. And whilst Ferguson dismissed it as nothing more serious than a dead leg, with Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones already sidelined, rookie Scott Wootton could be handed a shock European bow if Evans fails to make it.
And, after transforming United's performance, if not the result, at Old Trafford, Rooney's contribution against Tottenham must surely put him in line for a start.
The 26-year-old is certainly up for the challenge given how highly he still rates the Champions League experience.
"It still think it is exciting," said Rooney.
"It is a great competition to be in.
"You look at the teams involved and it is a great challenge for everyone. It is something I love playing in."