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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Wayne Rooney back in lineup for United

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney returned to the lineup Sunday and scored a goal against Chelsea, just five days after surprisingly being left on the bench for the team's Champions League defeat by Real Madrid.

Sir Alex Ferguson included Rooney in his preferred striking role for Sunday afternoon's 2-2 FA Cup quarterfinal draw with Chelsea, alongside Javier Hernandez, with Robin van Persie this time left on the bench.

Ferguson tried to play down his Champions League benching of Rooney on Friday, insisting Rooney would still be at Old Trafford next season as the club plans to extend the star player's contract.

"There's no issue with his contract, when it has to be renegotiated it will be," he said. "We don't want players to leave."

Ferguson was visibly angered by reports of Rooney's imminent exit when he faced the press on Friday and said: "Wayne will be here next year. You have my word on that.

"The issues that you're all going on about are absolute rubbish," he said. "There is absolutely no issue between Wayne Rooney and I. To suggest we don't talk to each other on the training ground is absolute nonsense."

The Scot was subsequently quoted in the Sunday morning papers saying that a new contract for Rooney would be looked at at the appropriate time, contradicting reports in the aftermath of Tuesday's defeat which suggested the club could allow him to leave at the end of the current campaign.

The former Everton forward is tied to United until the end of the 2014-15 season and Ferguson expects a new deal to be discussed.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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