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Rooney calls on Man United players to ‘stand up’


London (AFP) – Wayne Rooney has called on Manchester United’s players to stand up and be counted, saying that manager Jose Mourinho is an easy target for the club’s troubles.

United battled back from two goals down to beat Newcastle 3-2 at the weekend but are languishing in eighth place in the Premier League, seven points off top spot.

Following the win, Mourinho accused his critics of staging a “manhunt” to get him sacked after a string of bad results and rifts with players including French midfielder Paul Pogba.

But former United captain Rooney, who now plays for D.C. United in Major League Soccer (MLS), said the players had to take some responsibility for the situation.

“It’s tough (at United), it has been a tough situation,” he said in comments reported by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

“The players, the manager, it has been a tough start to the season. I know Jose is getting a load of stick but I said a few weeks ago, the players have to stand up. They have to be counted and they have to be better.

“The manager can do so much but then it is down to the players on the pitch to produce, and probably collectively. It (the poor run) is a bit of everything coming together but Jose is an easy target. Some of the players have to be better.”

The former England forward said the situation at Old Trafford was similar to when Louis van Gaal was at the helm.

“He took a lot of stick but behind closed doors I said to the players ‘we have to be doing better’. Personally, I think he (Van Gaal) set us up brilliantly but we didn’t produce on the pitch, so I am sure that is getting said behind the scenes.”

Rooney now has nine goals in 16 matches since signing for D.C. United from Everton in June.

The 32-year-old striker has played a part in a late-season surge that has left United two points behind Montreal for the sixth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth with two games in hand.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Captain

    October 9, 2018 at 7:42 am

    But van Gaal never moaned about players coming back late from international competition, complained about a lack of signings, attacked his star player while being a pundit or criticized his own players’ abilities publicly to the media.

    Mourinho’s special brand of toxicity saw him lose the dressing room at Real and Chelsea, which in turn led to disjointed performances on the pitch.

    Similar symptoms have appeared now at Old Trafford when they really shouldn’t have – just a few months before Utd had finished second in the league and runners-up in the FA Cup. By any measure they should be looking to improve coming into this new season, not having to fight for their manager’s survival.

    So what’s the cause? Well the only notable thing that happened in the intervening months was Mourinho picking fights through the media for no good reason and creating a negative atmosphere at the club.

    The Toxic One has a unique track record of destroying squad harmony and confidence. Ex-players, journalists and fans should remember this and stop giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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