Wayne Rooney's form is like Man Utd's, says manager Jose Mourinho
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 24/09/16 12:30pm
Jose Mourinho has jumped to the defence of Wayne Rooney insisting all his Manchester United players need to take responsibility following two weeks of intense scrutiny.
United lost three successive games to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford before surviving a scare against League One side Northampton Town on Tuesday to reach the fourth round of the EFL Cup.
Rooney, who hasn't scored since the Premier League opener at Bournemouth, has dismissed much of his criticism as "rubbish" and speaking ahead of Saturday's showdown with Leicester at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports 1 HD, Mourinho stuck up for his skipper.
"Wayne Rooney's form is like Man United's form. We are a team - we are not Wayne Rooney, we are a team," he said.
"We all started well, we all won four matches and we all lost three matches in a week so that's not Wayne Rooney.
"To be honest, he didn't play against Feyenoord so he was directly involved in two of the three matches. But the way we think in the group is everybody is involved in every match, even the ones who are not playing.
"We like to say it's a very good start of the season, probably better than we could expect, probably better than we prepared for.
"We were guilty to raise the expectations from the people and then we lost three matches in a week - three matches where we were not consistent, we didn't play well for 90 minutes.
"We were punished by the fact that we played well for moments and for periods and not for the whole of the game. In football, you have to be consistent during the 90 minutes and that's life."
The weekend's hosting of reigning champions Leicester sees Mourinho going up against Claudio Ranieri, the man he replaced at Chelsea in 2004 and his old adversary from Serie A.
Asked about the prospects of the visitors repeating last season's heroics in the Premier League, Mourinho added: "I think it is obviously very difficult to retain the title - not for Leicester, for everybody. History says that.
"Not many teams during the Premier League could do that. One of the teams was of course Man United. Another one was some team managed by the worst manager in the history of football! [Chelsea]
"The reality is I look at them and they are very good. They won the Premier League because some of the big teams were not good enough last season.
"They won because they were very good - and they are still very good. I think they are a very easy team to analyse, a very easy team to understand. Their defensive process is clear, their attacking organisation is very easy to understand too - but it is very difficult to cope with it."