In his one and half year of work at one of the biggest institutions in world football, Louis van Gaal has earned more criticism than accolades from the fans and pundits of Manchester United.
However, the captain of the squad has come to his manager’s rescue and has admitted that the focus on the manager has meant that his players have “got off quite lightly” for the struggles of the club this season.
It was another disappointing weekend for the Red Devils after they lost at Sunderland, a defeat that now sees them 6 points away from a Champions League spot.
However, the Dutchman has been in the spotlight ever since taking over with rumors heard all around England that his time at the club is limited.
Wayne Rooney said that the United players should accept responsibility for the disappointing performances in another disappointing season.
“It’s a very good group of players,” Rooney told English newspapers. “At times, it’s been frustrating for us as we’ve under-performed.
“And actually, the manager has taken a lot of stick for some performances. It’s down to us, we’re players and we have to perform.”
The biggest problem for the squad at the moment is the inability to create chances but recent games before the Sunderland loss gave some hope for the Red Devils. However, that loss has seriously dented their chances of a Champions League spot.
“At times this season we haven’t done that. In terms of that, we’ve probably got off quite lightly and the manager has taken a lot of it.
“But we’re going on the pitch. We have to create chances and win games and we haven’t done that enough this season.”
Manchester United have not won a trophy since the Sir Alex Ferguson era which is devastating for a club of its stature.
However, they resume their European competitions this week in the Europa league for the first time since 2012.
Rooney said that the cup competitions are the only way to revive the season and said they will give their all for the remainder of the season in search of silverware.
“The important thing now, I feel, is to win trophies again this season,” he said. “It’s been a few years since we won a trophy.”
“This is more or less a new team so for ourselves, as a team, we need to win something. The fans want to see us win something again.”
Rooney explained that it was disappointing for the club to not be in the Champions league, Europe’s elite competition. United were thrown out of it in the group stage this season and found themselves playing the Europa league.
“Obviously, the Champions League is massive for this club and it was disappointing to go out of it.
“And then the Europa League, it would be great if we can win that. It’s not where we wanted to be at the start of the season.
“But it’s where we’ve found ourselves so why not go and try to win it.”
United travel to FC Midtjylland for the first leg of the Europa league round-of 32 encounter on Thursday