Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has conceded that the players must take responsibility for their struggles this season too.
Louis van Gaal has undoubtedly faced the brunt of the criticism for the side’s poor performances, with the Dutchman heavily booed as he walked off the Old Trafford pitch following the 1-0 defeat to Southampton last weekend.
While he temporarily silenced his doubters with a win at Derby County in the FA Cup on Friday night, the Red Devils remain five points adrift of Tottenham who occupy the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.
However, with a home clash with Stoke City to prepare for on Tuesday, Rooney has moved to ease the pressure on his manager and is adamant that the players must step up and improve too.
“It’s unfair to say it’s down to the manager – we’re on the pitch. So the players have to take a lot of responsibility for performances and results,” Rooney said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“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 per cent, it doesn’t always come off and thankfully it did in our last match.”
Van Gaal has conceded this week that he is unsure as to what kind of reception he will receive on Tuesday night, but he will undoubtedly hope that the supporters remain patient and allow the players an opportunity to follow up their FA Cup success.
However, if the visitors produce a stubborn defence display to deal with United who have suffered with an inability to apply consistent pressure on their opposition this season, then the mood at Old Trafford will undoubtedly turn sour sooner rather than later.