WAYNE ROONEY has regained his goalscoring form and has had his say on Man Utd fans’ criticism of Louis Van Gaal. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has defended Louis van Gaal and admitted the players deserve just as much criticism as the manager. Rooney scored United’s opener in their FA Cup fourth round win at Derby on Friday night to slightly ease the pressure on Van Gaal, who was booed by supporters following the recent Premier League home defeat against Southampton.
“It’s unfair to say it’s the manager – we’re on the pitch,” Rooney said at Pride Park. “The players have to take a lot of responsibility for performances and results. We have to stand up and take criticism when it’s there.
“We want to win, of course we always want to win, and we’re trying. Even when you’re giving 100%, it doesn’t always come off, and thankfully against Derby it has.”
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At the post-match press conference, Van Gaal bristled at suggestions he gave United’s players more freedom at Championship side Derby, insisting he always gives them the privilege.
Rooney, though, thought there was a notable difference in United’s approach from the rigid and insipid set-up against Southampton.
“It was obviously a better performance than last week’s game,” he added. “But the manager gave us a lot of freedom to go and play, and you can see the difference in the team.
“You can see we were enjoying it, scoring some good goals, and thoroughly deserved to win, so hopefully we can put in another performance like this on Tuesday and take this into the game against Stoke.”
Rooney is now just seven goals shy of matching Sir Bobby Charlton’s record haul of 249 United goals, as he homes in on usurping the Reds great for a second time this season.
The 30-year-old’s whipped strike at Derby was his 13th of the campaign and Rooney has netted six in his last six. Having gone over two months without a Premier League goal in the autumn, Rooney is one goal away from matching the 14 he registered last season and he is confident of hitting the 20-goal mark for the first time since 2011-12.
“I’m well aware,” Rooney said when informed how close he was to Charlton’s haul. “Like the England record, when it was getting closer, it was coming up every week, so I’m sure it will now.
“But it’s great to be mentioned alongside Sir Bobby’s record and, hopefully, before the end of the season I can pass that and kick on from there.” — M.E.N