Manchester United sends injured Rooney on break to speed up recovery
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney applauds supporters as he walks from the pitch after his team's 2-1 loss to Tottenham in their English Premier League soccer match at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Wednesday Jan. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Published Friday, January 10, 2014 11:30AM EST
MANCHESTER, England -- Struggling Manchester United will be without injured strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie for Saturday's Premier League match against Swansea, though manager David Moyes says warm weather training will help Rooney recover faster.
Moyes says Rooney, who has a groin injury, left Manchester accompanied by a fitness coach and his family and hopes he will be available for the Jan. 19 league game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
"His groin has not quite recovered yet," Moyes said. "Hopefully we will get him fit for Chelsea."
Rooney, who had a scan on his groin on Friday, has missed United's defeats to Swansea in the FA Cup and Sunderland in the first leg of their League Cup semifinal. When healthy, he has one of United's best players in their first season under Alex Ferguson's successor.
British media reported on Friday that Rooney is again coveted by Chelsea after the Blues had two bids for the striker rejected last summer. Asked about Rooney, who is entering the final 18 months of his contract at Old Trafford, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho refused to comment.
"I don't want to speak about it," Mourinho said. "We play Man United in a few days. I don't think it's nice to speak about a Man United player."
Hampered by a thigh injury, Van Persie has not played in the league since a home loss to Newcastle on Dec. 7 that was his first game since Nov. 10. Moyes says the Netherlands forward will be absent for a "little while."
Against Swansea, which won for the first time at Old Trafford last week, Moyes will also be without the injured Rio Ferdinand, Phil Jones, Marouane Fellaini, Nani and Ashley Young.
Moyes' job does not appear to be on the line yet but the Scot is presiding over one of the worst periods in United history. The Reds Devils have been beaten at home four times in the league this season and are trailing leader Arsenal by 11 points. Even a fourth-place finish now looks a difficult goal to reach as Moyes' team currently are in seventh, five points adrift of the Champions League positions.
Another loss to Swansea would seal United's worst run since 1981, when the club lost eight games out of 10.
"It is a test of character but I am fully confident we will come through it and we will be OK," said veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs.