Manchester United Vs Blackburn Rovers, Sat 27 Nov 2010

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Nemanja Vidic wants the past to be forgotten and Wayne Rooney left alone to get back to what he loves best - scoring goals for Manchester United.

After a turbulent few months, Rooney made his first start since recovering from an ankle injury at Rangers on Wednesday, scoring the late penalty that sent United into the Champions League knockout phase with a game to spare.

The 25-year-old then apologised for the manner in which his contract negotiations were carried out, before finally declaring he never had any intention of joining Manchester City.

Vidic is not about to get drawn into the details of Rooney's conduct. As United skipper, all he cares about is winning matches, starting with Blackburn's visit to Old Trafford tomorrow.

Now the rows and wrangles are at an end, he feels Rooney should be allowed to concentrate on reaching the form he showed last term before injuries affected his performances.

"We have to forget what happened in the past," said Vidic.

"It is great news he has signed a new contract and will be part of Manchester United for the next few years.

"He showed on Wednesday that he is hungry to play for this club.

"He is hungry to score goals and had a few opportunities.

"It was important for his confidence that he got the penalty. He can build from that and the aim for him now is to achieve last season's form."

Suddenly, Ferguson has a growing collection of strikers at his disposal, with Dimitar Berbatov, in-form Javier Hernandez, Federico Macheda and Gabriel Obertan all hoping to play a part.

The situation is significantly less cluttered in central midfield as Darren Fletcher has been ruled out of the game with an ankle injury, whilst Paul Scholes is a major doubt after suffering a groin strain at Ibrox.

Nevertheless, the Red Devils will still be strong favourites to come out on top and leapfrog Chelsea at the Premier League summit, which even Vidic accepts would be a surprise given United have drawn seven of their 14 matches so far.

"I am surprised at where we are," he said.

"When we started, if someone had told us we would have this many points at this stage of the season we would have been disappointed.

"But actually we are not in a bad position.

"We saw last year teams are better and are competing more against the top four or five. And this season the top five have all lost so many points.

"It puts us in a higher position than we might have thought, the same as Chelsea.

"But there is still a long way to go. This is definitely the time to play the best football we can and to make sure we win the next few games."

Meanwhile, Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce feels his players must "embrace" the experience of playing at Old Trafford.

Rovers come up against an unbeaten United side who have won six of their seven home fixtures in the Barclays Premier League this season, and Allardyce thinks it will be vital his team are not overawed by their surroundings.

"What I'm really concerned about is making sure that they go out and play their best because that will give them a chance to get a result," Allardyce said.

"It's all right organising systems and saying 'do this and do that', but the players need to embrace the Old Trafford atmosphere and not be frightened.

"That can bring the best out of you and if it does, you can have a fantastic afternoon, and so can the fans. But it is always one of the most difficult places to get a result at.

"The reason for playing in the Premier League is to wait for the opportunity to come around and play at stadiums like Old Trafford.

"That is what you play football for, and if you shrink in that atmosphere, you really shouldn't be here - it has got to bring the best out of you. If you fear that, you will end up moving down the divisions very quickly."

Several Rovers players will undergo fitness tests ahead of the clash.

Morten Gamst Pedersen came off during the 2-0 victory over Aston Villa last weekend and Brett Emerton missed the game, with hamstring injuries the reason in both cases.

They will have their conditions assessed, along with Steven Nzonzi and Benjani Mwaruwari, whose own hamstring problems have kept them sidelined in recent weeks.

Gael Givet, who was substituted at half-time against Villa due to illness, should be able to take part.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Manchester United

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