Rowell report: Underestimate Manchester United at your peril

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

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IF YOU believe the media and pundits, then Saturday’s opponents Manchester United are a team in trouble with big problems.

But then you look at the Premier League table and see they are fourth from top, with a real chance of a Champions League spot.

It just shows the standards some teams are held to and as United are the biggest club in the country, they are constantly under the microscope.

It’s true that this United team is far from a vintage one and Saturday’s defeat at Swansea has given their critics more ammunition, but with the array of talent at Louis van Gaal’s disposal, they have to be respected.

Sunderland will be the underdogs, just as they were last season when they surprised everybody with a win that was huge in the successful fight for survival.

The key to victory that day was Gus Poyet had found a settled team formation, with tactics that suited them, whereas at the moment, I don’t think anybody knows what our best side is or the system that suits the players best.

Van Gaal has attacking options most clubs can only dream of – Wayne Rooney often plays in midfield and I’ll not be disappointed if that’s where he lines up on Saturday, as in my opinion, he’s still United’s best forward and biggest danger.

Falcao, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria have played on the world’s biggest stages and are capable of winning games on their own, so Sunderland will know the huge task ahead of them.

Old Trafford is the sort of venue where if you can get a good result, it does wonders for confidence and morale, and the way things are at the moment, that’s something Sunderland clearly need.