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Rooney wary of another slow start ahead of crucial battle with Chelsea

The England star has called on his team to be alert as soon as the whistle is blown against its Premier League rivals while preparing for an attacking midfield role.

Wayne Rooney has warned his teammates that conceding an early goal against Chelsea will be much harder to overturn than in previous fixtures against the London side, given the new attacking flair of the current Premier League leaders.

“We don’t want to be doing that [conceding early again] and against the best teams it will be difficult to get those goals to win games,” Rooney told The Telegraph. “It happened against Braga [in the UEFA Champions League in midweek], and we did well to get back into the game and win it, but you can’t afford to be going one or two goals down against Chelsea away – although we did last season. We went 3-0 down before we drew. But we can’t do that again.”

Chelsea has retooled its attack and possesses more firepower than last year, having recruited Oscar and Eden Hazard in the summer for a combined fee of almost 60 million pounds to join Juan Mata in attack playing just behind Fernando Torres.

Rooney is well aware that the dangerous attacking threat the Blues now pose could cost Manchester United dear.

“Mata is a great player and Hazard has settled in really well in his first season, so I think those two along with Torres are the three biggest threats," Rooney said. "Torres is still a threat, of course. I don’t think he gets the credit he deserves, because he works hard for the team. Sometimes the goals go in for him, other times they don’t, but he’s always trying."

Chelsea is currently undefeated in the League, winning seven of its eight games while drawing the other against QPR.

“It’s a great start, and it’s clear having won the Champions League last season it has given them a lot more confidence, they have brought a lot of new players in and added more speed to the team,” Rooney added.

As exclusively revealed by Goal.com, Sir Alex Ferguson is set to start Wayne Rooney in midfield on Sunday to help counter the attacking creativity of Chelsea.

“I’m happy to play where the manager wants to play me. We have a lot of top strikers and midfielders so if the manager wants to play me in midfield or as a striker I’m happy to do that," Rooney said.

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