Manchester United vs Leicester: Wayne Rooney 'is my man' says Jose Mourinho, despite dropping him to bench

24 Sep

Jose Mourinho revealed he left Wayne Rooney out of Manchester United’s starting eleven against Leicester City in order to inject more pace into his team.


With their captain watching from the substitutes’ bench, United cruised to a 4-1 victory against the Premier League champions at Old Trafford – leading by a four-goal margin at half-time for the first time in the league since defeating Arsenal in February 2001.

Rooney’s omission from the team followed the 30-year-old’s poor run of performances, which culminated in a dismal display against League One Northampton Town in the EFL Cup in midweek.

But Mourinho insisted that his decision was a tactical one, with Rooney continuing to be a key player for the team.

“My captain is my captain, if he is on the pitch or at home,” Mourinho said. “It is not a problem.

“But against a team like Leicester and how they defend with their defenders, the best solution was to play with the two fast kids (Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford) and (Juan) Mata in the position to interact with the kids. It went well for us.”

Mourinho insisted, however, that Rooney, who remains three goals short of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time United goalscoring record, remains an important figure in his squad.

“Wayne is a big player for me, United and his country,” Mourinho said. “I have nothing else to say. He is my man, I trust him completely.

“He is happy as I am at the moment. His team won. United won, that’s normal.

“But if I don’t play Rashford, Lingard, you ask me why? It is always about who is left out.

“But I know the rules, and until you can play more than eleven, you can only play eleven.”

United’s victory ended a run of successive league defeats, against Manchester City and Watford, that had halted the team’s bright start to the season.

“It was a very good performances and a very good result because Leicester are not an easy team to win against,” Mourinho said. “It is difficult to win in such a comfortable way as we did.

“If you score four goals and your striker doesn’t score – and Ibra was phenomenal – you are going in other directions and I am happy with that.

“Today was about the result, the performance and security. The happiness of the fans too, because I don’t know the last time they had four goals by half-time.”

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Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri, meanwhile, insisted that his team’s lack of concentration which led them to conceding three goals from corners was the root of their downfall.

“It is not possible to concede three goals from corners,” he said. “That means you are not concentrating.

“We are usually very solid at corners and free-kicks, it was very strange. Until now we have been very strong, we have made some mistakes.

“I can understand that they score with headers, that they are very tall, but to score a smart goal from a corner is not possible.

“It is important to clean our mind and get ready for the Champions League on Tuesday.”

Ranieri withdrew Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy at half-time, but the Italian insisted the move was driven by Tuesday’s Champions League fixture at home to FC Porto.

“I told them both, rest, get changed,” Ranieri said. “ I want them fresh for Porto.”

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