Football - Bassong not fazed by Rooney

Norwich captain Sebastien Bassong will not lose any sleep at the prospect of coming up against rejuvenated Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney on Saturday as the Canaries look to get their own Barclays Premier League campaign back on track.

Chris Hughton's squad held a debrief at their training base on Friday afternoon following the disappointing Boxing Day home defeat by Fulham as attentions quickly turned to how to tackle the defending champions.

Manchester United have now won five matches in a row to move back up the table after they came from 2-0 down to beat Hull at the KC Stadium, where Rooney cracked in a superb 30-yard strike to help complete the comeback for David Moyes' men.

However, after having already been given the run-around by the likes of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero, centre-back Bassong knows it is up to him to adapt his own game to whatever the calibre of the opposition's attack.

"It is the same as playing against someone else, no different," said the Cameroon international.

"Yes, he (Rooney) is a star player, we all know that, but we have been playing against loads of really good players, so maybe I will watch him a bit more, but that is it."

Bassong continued: "There are loads of top quality strikers in the Premier League, so I am not going to just focus on one every game.

"I know I am going to play against them, so I have to adapt myself.

"I am going to be playing against a good striker every week, so if I want to show I am a good player, then I have to cope every week.

"Wayne Rooney is a terrific player, England's star (man), but in Manchester United there are other terrific players too, so I cannot only focus on him.

"But I like it, that is what I am playing football for, otherwise it would have been boring."

Before capitulating to Fulham, when they had taken a first-half lead through a deflected effort from Gary Hooper, Norwich had slowly started to produced some consistent results.

Hughton will have to make at least one enforced change for the visit of United, who were beaten 1-0 at Carrow Road last season, with centre-half Michael Turner suspended after collecting a fifth yellow card against Fulham.

Norwich were eventually overrun in midfield by an industrious Fulham side on Boxing Day, with a free-kick from Pajtim Kasami creeping under a jumping wall to equalise before Scott Parker's fine 20-yard strike just three minutes from time secured a rare away win for the relegation-battling Cottagers.

With other sides below them in the table also picking up much-needed victories, Norwich now sit just three points above the drop zone.

Hughton, however, believes there is no better way to respond to such a disappointing display then producing the goods when it matters most against the champions.

"Any defeat always hurts, but I cannot fault the effort of the players and it was a game we could have won, but you have to look forward," said Hughton.

"Manchester United are a team full of quality, but we are playing at home and it is an opportunity for us to bounce back from yesterday's result.

"It is the type of game which lifts everybody, lifts our supporters and is a game which we should look forward to."

Hughton, though, accepts if his side are to stand any chance of pulling off a repeat of last season's heroics against United, then Norwich could do with Rooney having an off day.

He said: "Is Rooney a special player? Yes he is. Do we hope he does not have a good day tomorrow? Yes - and it is of course up to us to make sure that happens, but he is certainly playing very well at the moment."

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