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In an honest assessment of where Manchester United are as a club, striker Wayne Rooney has admitted teams no long fear taking on the reigning Premier League champions.
They may have the English crown for now but when United can once again call themselves Premier League title holders is anyone’s guess, as their fall from grace has been more dramatic than even the most cynical fan might have thought.
A 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford to rivals Manchester City, to add to the same scoreline against arch enemy Liverpool earlier this month, shows where United are at the moment and Rooney knows that his side’s performances this season have not been up to scratch.
He said after the defeat to City on Tuesday night: “We can’t lose six home games in a season and we have to put that right and make this a place teams fear again.
“We know we have to respond. It’s a bad night for us all but we have to move on.”
There are certainly no guarantees United will get back to winning ways this weekend when they host Aston Villa at Old Trafford.
Villa, who are 6.86 to come away with the three points on Saturday, have already beaten title challengers Chelsea this month and, like Rooney said, they will be heading to the Theatre of Dreams without fear.
United still have the players in their ranks to get a result against the Villains but at 1.44, not many will be putting their mortgages on a home win.