Mourinho taught us to win again: Rooney

LONDON • Wayne Rooney says Jose Mourinho has already created a winning mentality at Manchester United to boost the confidence of a team who have lacked such belief in recent years.

Mourinho's United side secured their third successive victory of the new Premier League season at Hull City on Saturday - Marcus Rashford scoring an injury-time winner - and go into the international break joint top of the fledgling table.

The ill feeling that was evident around Old Trafford during much of Louis van Gaal's reign as manager appears to have lifted before the derby against Manchester City on Sept 10.

Rooney, who created Rashford's late goal with a fine run and pass from the byeline, praised the impact that Mourinho has made in such a short space of time and said it had been crucial for United to start the season well after their struggles in the years since legendary manager Alex Ferguson's retirement.

"You look at the years when Jose won the title at Chelsea, they always started well, but I think the way it's been for us the last two or three seasons, it was important for us as a team," Rooney said.

"Jose has brought that experience in, that winning mentality again.

"That's showing in the players and it's maybe been lacking over the last couple of years.

"It's early but you want to try to build momentum and especially going into the international break.

"To go there with three wins out of three is important and with the next game being Man City, it was a big win for us, even though it's so early in the season.

"We know whatever happens against City isn't going to define the season but it's always nice to go into that break with the three wins.

"It's a game players, staff, media, fans, everyone will be looking forward to.

"It's a Manchester derby but also with Jose (in charge) and Pep Guardiola at Man City. It's exciting for everyone and exciting to play in."

Rooney's position in the United team has come under question this season.

The 30-year-old had not enjoyed the best of games at Hull before producing a telling piece of play in the dying moments to set Rashford up for a tap-in.

Mourinho praised the England captain's display, insisting Rooney is not immune to being substituted but that his presence on the pitch until injury time was a tactical decision.

"I can take him out. It's no problem for me to take him out, no problem for him to be out," he said.

"But I was just reading the game and feeling that playing with the two strikers, Marcus and Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), I needed (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan and Rooney just inside because the full-backs were the ones playing really wide on the touchline.

"I didn't need wingers because at this moment the wingers were (Antonio) Valencia and Luke Shaw, so instead of wingers I needed people to play inside in that position.

"I know that Rooney is the guy with the vision for an assist and a feeling for the ball, and that he could be important, like he was."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Mourinho taught us to win again: Rooney'. Print Edition | Subscribe