• Premier League

Berbatov left out for tactical reasons - Ferguson

ESPN staff
November 20, 2010
Wayne Rooney will start against Rangers © PA Photos

Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to see Wayne Rooney get a good reception from the Old Trafford crowd against Wigan on Saturday, but he admitted his decision to leave Dimitar Berbatov out of the squad was purely tactical.

United chalked up a 2-0 victory against the Latics thanks to goals from Patrice Evra and Javier Hernandez, but the major talking point was the Red Devils' bench. Rooney made his first appearance since heading to the US for rehabilitation, while £30 million man Berbatov did not even make the bench after a poor showing at Aston Villa.

Rumours of an ongoing illness surrounded the Bulgarian's absence, but Ferguson quashed the speculation by revealing he merely felt Federico Macheda was a better option.

"I just left him out - picking my subs today I just thought I had to give a different type of variety," explained the United boss.

Rooney made his first appearance since the contract saga that saw the England striker threaten to leave before signing a new five-year deal - and he came off the bench after 57 minutes mainly to cheers.

"That was good - that will be pleasing for him, settle him down and make him realise he is at the right club, no doubt about that," said Ferguson. "It was a quiet comeback, he got involved in a few of the bits of interplay but in the main he just needed that 25 minutes or so.

"He will play against Rangers on Wednesday and that will be the perfect match for him to come back and get 90 minutes.''

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.