Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney has moved to defend under-fire boss Louis van Gaal by insisting that United’s players must also take the blame for the club’s poor campaign this season.
Van Gaal has been heavily blamed following another poor result, the last weekend’s 2-1 defeat against 19th placed Sunderland. The results left the Red Devils six point adrift of the top four, questioning the club’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
This has seen reinvigorated calls for Van Gaal to be replaced at Old Trafford, but the club captain was adamant that the players must also take responsibility for their mediocre form this term and admits that pressure is on them to win some silverware this term to end the club’s trophy drought.
“At times it’s been frustrating for us as we have under-performed,” Rooney said.
“The manager has taken a lot of stick for some performances. It’s down to us, we’re players and we have to perform. In terms of that we have probably got off quite lightly and the manager has taken a lot of it.”
“But we are going out on the pitch. We have to create chances and win games, and we haven’t done that enough this season.”
Insisting that their main objective will now be to win a trophy, the 30-year-old England for said: “The important thing now, I feel, is to win trophies again this season. This is more or less a new team so for ourselves, as a team, we need to win something.
“We’ll keep going in the league, keep trying. But our main aim has to be to make sure we can get in that top four.
“And then the Europa League, it would be great if we can win that. It’s not where we wanted to be at the start of the season. But it’s where we’ve found ourselves so why not go and try to win it.”
The Red Devils make a trip to FC Midtjylland in the fifth leg of their Europa League last 32 ties on Thursday, and face Shrewsbury on Monday for a place in the FA Cup (fifth round) quarter-finals.
The two competitions are the great chances for United to win something this season after their Premier League campaign have proven to be so inadequate, and Rooney is already feeling the pressure