Wayne Rooney reveals 'mistake' Sir Alex Ferguson made in Portsmouth's 2008 FA Cup win at Old Trafford - and how defeat left treble-chasing boss fuming

Sir Alex Ferguson ‘didn’t speak a word’ to his Manchester United players for ‘about two weeks’ after Pompey’s FA Cup quarter-final victory at Old Trafford in 2008.
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That’s according to former Red Devils striker Wayne Rooney, who claims the United camp knew defeat against the Blues that day robbed them of another historic treble.

Pompey beat the hosts 1-0 thanks to a 78th-minute Sulley Muntari penalty.

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The midfielder beat stand-in keeper Rio Ferdinand from the penalty spot after substitute keeper Tomasz Kuszczak was sent off for upending Milan Baros.

The famous victory set Harry Redknapp’s side on the road to FA Cup glory, with the Blues beating West Brom in the semi-final, before disposing of Cardiff in the final at Wembley.

But as Pompey celebrated at Old Trafford, the Man Utd squad – who went on to secure the Premier League title and that season’s Champions League crown, were already feeling the repercussions.

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Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks angry at the final whistle.  Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesFormer Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks angry at the final whistle.  Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks angry at the final whistle. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Speaking to the MU Podcast, former United favourite Rooney said the manager failed to speak to his players for a fortnight.

However, the ex-England captain was himself also unhappy.

He believes Ferguson made the ‘biggest mistake’ by opting for Ferdinand to step into the keepers’ role instead of him.

Rooney told the MU Podcast: ‘We knew we should have had it (the FA Cup).

Sulley Muntari scores past stand-in Manchester United goalkeeper Rio Ferdinand during Pompey's FA Cup win at Old Trafford in 2008.  Picture:  Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesSulley Muntari scores past stand-in Manchester United goalkeeper Rio Ferdinand during Pompey's FA Cup win at Old Trafford in 2008.  Picture:  Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Sulley Muntari scores past stand-in Manchester United goalkeeper Rio Ferdinand during Pompey's FA Cup win at Old Trafford in 2008. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

‘That, still to this day I think, that Portsmouth game was…

‘And I always remember to this day, the biggest mistake the manager made was not putting me in goal.

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‘I used to practice after training. When I'd finish all my stuff, I'd go with the goalie coach and the keepers and I'd go in goal. I'd practice kicking with the keepers, I'd practice saves - I was just energetic, I had too much energy.

‘So I always remember saying: “if the keeper gets sent off any time, you have to put me in”.

Sol Campbell clears the ball under pressure from Wayne Rooney.  Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty ImagesSol Campbell clears the ball under pressure from Wayne Rooney.  Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Sol Campbell clears the ball under pressure from Wayne Rooney. Picture: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

‘But I think he was worried I probably wouldn’t have saved it (the penalty) and then we're 1-0 down so he needed me to try and score.

‘But after that game, I think Portsmouth went on to play Middlesbrough and Cardiff, I think, or Middlesbrough and Millwall, or something like that, in the semi-final, final, and you were just looking at it thinking…

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‘Then I remember the boss, it was about two weeks - he didn't speak a word to us.

‘He knew that was the chance of doing the treble again.’

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