Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson says Wayne Rooney's reputation is taking on the proportions of Old Trafford legend Bryan Robson.

All five of this season's defeats came when Rooney was not playing.

"He's an important player. He's different from everybody else. I remember coming here and they said United couldn't win without Bryan Robson and it became a sort of paranoia around the team. It's the same today. You can win without Wayne, given our squad, but if he'd played in those games we lost I don't think we'd have lost," said Ferguson. "It's not coincidental but you can't allow that to be cast in stone."