Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has defended manager, Louis van Gaal, stating the players should be held culpable for their recent decline in form and not the manager.
United recorded a 3-1 win over Derby County in the FA cup, with Rooney on the list of goalscorers as the devils stormed to their fourth victory in six games in 2016.
They were a shadow of themselves back in November and December, with Van Gaal under a lot of pressure, after they failed to record a win in eight straight games.
“It’s unfair to say it’s down to the manager,” Rooney said.
“We’re on the pitch, so 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 per cent, it doesn’t always come off.”
Van Gaal denied that he had explicitly told the players to abandon his playing style after a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Southampton – in which United managed just one shot on target. Rooney, however, said it was obvious that the players enjoyed their performance on Friday much more than their league encounter.
“The manager gave us a lot of freedom to go and play and I think you can see the difference in the team,” he added.
“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 against Stoke City on Tuesday.”