Rooney hits critics over goal drought

LONDON • Wayne Rooney has accused his critics of judging him too soon, although the Manchester United captain admits he was disappointing in last Friday's victory at Aston Villa.

His display against Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day of the season was also questioned, yet the 29-year-old believes only his performance against Villa was below par.

He has failed to score in his past nine competitive matches for United - including Tuesday's 3-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League play-offs - in a run that stretches back to April 4 last season. But when asked about his form, he made it clear he believes the criticism is exaggerated.

"I've had one bad game this season and everyone's all over it," said Rooney, who once went 12 games without a goal in 2005-06 and had a dry spell of nine matches last season. "I know I've had that all throughout my career but hopefully at the weekend I can get off the mark."

Louis van Gaal is fielding Rooney as the central striker, and the manager and player believe he can score 25 goals-plus from that position.

Does Rooney remain confident of this? "Yeah, of course. I'm an honest guy, I know when I haven't played well and, against Aston Villa, I was below my standards and I know that. It's not a game I'll want to look back on but obviously you have games like that."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2015, with the headline 'Rooney hits critics over goal drought'. Print Edition | Subscribe