London – Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has hit out at suggestions that he dived to get Bastian Schweinsteiger sent off during his side's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich.
Schweinsteiger was shown a second yellow card after sliding in on Rooney towards the end of Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, ruling the Germany midfielder out of next week's second leg in Munich.
Schweinsteiger exchanged angry words with Rooney after the incident, while Bayern coach Pep Guardiola appeared to make a 'dive' gesture, but the England striker insisted that he had been fouled.
“I don't really want to say what he (Schweinsteiger) said, but I thought it was a foul,” Rooney said, in comments reported by several British newspapers on Thursday.
“If I didn't get out of the way, he could have hurt me. He's gone in with his studs and the referee has booked him, so it's not my decision.
“It's not nice to see anyone get sent off. I didn't try and get him sent off Ä the referee has made the decision. I have tried to stop myself from getting hurt and the referee has had a decision to make.
“He's a great player and he's obviously someone they will miss Ä and (Javi) Martinez as well being suspended Ä but they have a great squad of players who can come in.”
United took a 58th-minute lead against the defending champions through captain Nemanja Vidic, before Schweinsteiger equalised nine minutes later.
The hosts could have gone in front in the first half, only for Danny Welbeck to miscue an attempted chip when one-on-one with Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, and Rooney was critical of his team-mate's decision-making.
“We have watched videos of their goalkeeper and we know he is a bit like (former United goalkeeper Peter) Schmeichel in the way he comes out, so it's a bit disappointing that he tried to dink him, but he will learn from that and I'm sure if he gets a chance over there he won't do that again,” said Rooney.
With United 17 points off the pace in the Premier League and out of both domestic cups, the Champions League represents the English champions' last hope of winning some silverware this season.
Although Bayern's away goal means that they remain favourites to reach the semi-finals, Rooney says that Wednesday's game at the Allianz Arena will be an occasion to savour.
“It's a massive game for our season,” said the 28-year-old.
“I scored there last time (2010), it's a fantastic stadium to play in, and to go there with the chance to knock the holders out of the tournament is a great incentive to us.
“A result there will keep our season alive so we're looking forward to it and it's a massive challenge to us. We have to go and prove we are a good team.” – Sapa-AFP