Norwich City captain Seb Bassong aims to prove he can mix in high society against Manchester United
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Sebastien Bassong did not expect a restless night's sleep ahead of trying to subdue Manchester United's rejuvenated talisman Wayne Rooney this afternoon at Carrow Road.
The England international looks to be back to his devastating best with another virtuoso strike at Hull in United's Boxing Day success. Bassong will be one of those tasked with trying to frustrate the 28-year-old on Norfolk soil and the Canaries' captain readily accepts the daunting challenge.
'Playing against Rooney is the same as playing against someone else. Yes, he is a good player, a really good player, a star player, we all know that but you play against top players every week,' said Bassong. 'There are quality strikers in the league. I don't just focus on one. It is about me and how I do because I know every week I play against a good player and I want to show that I am a good player as well.
'Rooney is an English star, a terrific player but you can not only focus on him. Manchester United have many good players. I like the challenge; that is why I play football, otherwise it would be boring.'
Bassong is convinced David Moyes' defending champions are genuine contenders to retain their Premier League crown despite a stuttering start to life after Sir Alex Ferguson.
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'Yes, it was a hard start to the season for them but now they are getting better. They are used to winning and maybe they have lost more than they are used to but they have started to find their rhythm,' he said. 'They have conceded goals this season but they are getting that winning feeling back.
'I believe they can still win the title. This is Manchester United, they have a winning spirit within their club. They don't want to lose that feeling. When you are undefeated for a long period of games you kind of find something. We had it last season and we had a decent run going before Fulham. That feeling comes with confidence.
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'It is Manchester United and they are a big team so of course it is different when you play these teams. Perhaps there is more focus and attention and you want to prove you can do well at that level. I wouldn't say it is special but it is a different test to other clubs.'
Bassong has sought to draw a line under City's Boxing Day struggles against Fulham after revealing Chris Hughton left his players in no doubt they had dropped below their recent standards.
'The manager said a couple of words, which I am going to keep secret, but we are just looking forward to the next game which comes around so soon,' he said. 'When you are on the back of a defeat there is positives but more negatives although no matter what the previous result you know Manchester United is always a tough game.
'We have been quite good at home apart from the other day. We know most people do not expect us to win but we want to make it competitive.
'I am excited to play Manchester United and we just want to put in a good performance. We have struggled against the big teams this season.
'We beat them last season and they finished champions so it doesn't really change anything. Beating Manchester United is something good but I am not going to say I will remember it in 10 years time.'