MANCHESTER (AFP) - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said he was "sick" of questions about Wayne Rooney after his captain produced another below-par display in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
"I don't give any more answers about Wayne Rooney because I am sick of them," Van Gaal told his post-match press conference at Old Trafford.
Deployed at the tip of United's attack, Rooney, who turned 30 on Saturday, failed to muster a single shot on goal as City secured a point that took them back to the top of the Premier League table.
The England captain has scored only two goals in his last 16 league appearances, but Van Gaal refused to discuss his form.
"I have to talk every week about Rooney. Why?" he asked.
When it was put to him that it was because Rooney is one of United's star players, Van Gaal told his interlocutor: "Then you have to write it down. It is your opinion."
The result left United in fourth place in the table, two points behind City and second-place Arsenal and below third-place West Ham United on goal difference.
Manchester City returned to the top after grinding out the 0-0 draw, while Sunderland crushed 10-man Newcastle 3-0 in a record-breaking north-east derby on Sunday.
The forgettable 170th Manchester derby yielded only two shots on target at Old Trafford, but that was enough to return City to the summit on goal difference above Arsenal, with United two points back in fourth place.
Manuel Pellegrini's City could point to the absence of injured duo Sergio Aguero and David Silva, which partly explained why their attack ran dry after a flood of 11 goals in two league games.
"We are back at the top of the table," Pellegrini said. "I prefer to play in another way but we defended well.
"It was very tactical. Unfortunately it was not a very attractive game."
There were no such excuses for van Gaal's United, although they came closest to scoring when Anthony Martial teed up substitute Jesse Lingard to volley against the bar late on.
"I am proud of my players. They have been concentrating and focused for 90 minutes," van Gaal said.
"We didn't create much but City adapted their line-up to our line-up. It was tough."