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Rooney: 'There's more to United than me'

Wayne Rooney insists Manchester United are not a one-man team.

The England striker headed the winner in the Carling Cup semi-final against Manchester City on Wednesday to follow the four goals he bagged against Hull in the Premier League on Saturday.

Rooney has now scored 21 goals in all competitions this term -- 14 more than the club's next highest scorers Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen -- but claims he is reliant on his team-mates.

Rooney said: "I don't look on us as a one-man team or see it as a great burden on me, it's nonsense.

"If I don't get the service, I can't score. If I don't, I expect others to, and we've done that well.

"We've shared the goals out well and it's certainly not just about me. We expect to win as a team, not as individuals."

United are a point behind Chelsea in the title race, having played a game more, and have lost five times so far this term.

Rooney, though, claims they are not on the slide.

He added: "And I don't need to say too much at all to people who think that United are starting to slide.

"Chelsea have a game in hand, but we're still up there, in a good position in the Champions League and the final of the Carling Cup. I can't see any slide from us at the minute."

Dangerous

United will look to keep the heat on Chelsea when they take on title rivals Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

And Arsenal defender Sol Campbell admits the Gunners will have to keep a close eye on Rooney.

Campbell said: "He's the talisman for United. He's always going to pop up, he's always dangerous.

"As a top striker, you have to watch him. In a flash, something can happen and they're in.

"It's a challenge. That's what it's all about. We're at the business end of the season. It's a big two weeks for the club. We have to get some points and go from there."

Meanwhile, Alex Ferguson believes that the English Football Association has been guilty of double standards over the decision yesterday to ban Rio Ferdinand for four matches.

Ferdinand's decision to contest a charge of violent conduct backfired when an independent regulatory commission handed the Manchester United defender an additional one-match ban on top of the mandatory three-game suspension after judging his appeal to be "frivolous".

The charge related to an incident during the second half of United's 4-0 Premier League win against Hull City at Old Trafford on Saturday when Ferdinand was judged deliberately to have struck Craig Fagan, the Hull striker, in the face with an arm.

But Ferguson cannot understand why Ferdinand has been punished when William Gallas, the Arsenal defender, is free to play against United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday after escaping disciplinary action for a challenge that was described as "akin to assault" last week.

Owen Coyle, the Bolton Wanderers manager, claimed that Gallas was lucky not to be sent off for his challenge on Mark Davies that resulted in the midfield player being taken off on a stretcher during Arsenal's 4-2 win.

The United manager has also questioned how the Ferdinand incident differs from that involving Liverpool's Javier Mascherano during a Carling Cup tie against Leeds United at Elland Road in September, when the Argentinian escaped a ban despite appearing to strike Jermaine Beckford, the Leeds striker, with his right arm.

Ferguson also claimed that Ferdinand had been punched by Fagan in the build-up to the incident. "I think if it's a fair hearing, then he's (Ferdinand) got a good chance because he was wrestled and punched, there was all sorts of things happening and he just tried to wrestle free of it and unfortunately for us he's caught him in the back of the neck or something," the United manager said.



VICTIMISED

Ferguson's belief that United have been victimised is unlikely to concern him as much as being without Ferdinand for the Arsenal game, the match at home to Portsmouth six days later, the trip to Aston Villa on February 10 and another away game against Everton on February 20.

United have until Monday to notify the FA whether they intend to appeal against the additional one-match ban -- they cannot contest the statutory three-match suspension -- although if they decide to fight the case, there is the danger that the punishment could be increased further.

United are understood to be giving serious thought to this despite the possibility that an increased ban could rule Ferdinand out of the Carling Cup final at the end of February.