Former Manchester United captain Rooney feels that the manager has been made ‘an easy target’ for the all the troubles that the club is going through
“The manager can do so much but then it is down to the players on the pitch to produce. Probably collectively it is a bit of everything coming together, but Jose is an easy target,” Rooney is quoted to have been said, according to the Mirror.
Mourinho has come under intense scrutiny and pressure this season after a poor start to the season, which has seen them already trail English Premier League pacesetters Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea by seven points. He has also overseen United’s worst league start to the season for 29 years, including losses to Brighton and Tottenham, the latter a humbling 3-0 defeat at home.
Sources had told ESPN FC that Mourinho believes that it is the lack of reinforcements made in the summer that have resulted in this mess of a start to 2018/19, and the Portugese has asked executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to rectify that situation in January. The manager also believes this will be a strong and public show of confidence on him by the clubs higher-ups.
Rooney, currently plying his trade in the MLS for DC United, spent 13 hugely-successful years at Old Trafford, including the 2016/17 season under Mourinho.
The former England captain also noted that no matter what kind of transfer activity has gone on in the summer past, it falls upon both the players and manager to make the best of the situation and overcome obstacles.
“I know Jose is getting a load of stick but the players have to stand up. They have to be counted and they have to be better,” said Rooney, who noted that he sees similarities to the situation that Louis Van Gaal, Mourinho’s predecessor, found himself in.
“(Van Gaal) took a lot of stick but behind closed doors … I said to the players we have been doing better,” added Rooney.
Rooney and Mourinho have been known to have the utmost respect for one another, so it is not surprising that he has lept to the defence of his former manager. And the record goalscorer for both England and United does have a point in that the players too have to pull their weight during the dark times, so let us see what kind of response the clubs players give when the season resumes in two weeks.