Wayne Rooney says Manchester United's players to blame for performances

Louis van Gaal, manager of Manchester United speaks with Wayne Rooney of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League
Image: Wayne Rooney has given his backing to manager Louis van Gaal by suggesting the players are to blame for Man Utd's form

Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United's players must take responsibility for their poor performances, rather than under-fire manager Louis van Gaal.

Van Gaal was booed by certain sections of the United support following the 1-0 defeat by Southampton at Old Trafford on January 23, a result that left his side in fifth spot in the Premier League table, five points off Tottenham in the final Champions League spot. 

The 3-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory over Championship side Derby County on Friday seemingly eased the pressure on Van Gaal, with Rooney, Daley Blind and Juan Mata all on target for United. 

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal
Image: Van Gaal has come under increasing pressure after a run of four wins in 14 matches in all competitions

And ahead of Tuesday's Premier League home clash with Stoke City, Rooney admits he and his United team-mates must take their fair share of the blame for their poor domestic form. 

"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. 

"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."

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Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (centre) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game
Image: United returned to winning ways in the FA Cup, Rooney scoring their first in the victory at Derby

Despite the morale-boosting victory at the iPro Stadium, Van Gaal admitted he was unsure of what reception awaits him when United return to Old Trafford to face the Potters. 

Van Gaal said: "I'm not a stupid man. I'm an intelligent man and I cannot predict the atmosphere.

"I hope that we can give the same level of performance as Friday, but we have to play Stoke City. It's another opponent."

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