No problem with Rooney: Mourinho

LONDON • Jose Mourinho downplayed his decision to drop Wayne Rooney, after Manchester United beat Leicester City 4-1 with the captain watching from the bench.

"There is not a problem with Wayne Rooney," the United manager explained after Saturday's Premier League match.

"My captain is my captain whether he is on the pitch or at home. We won the game so he is happy."

Why did he decide to leave Rooney out?

"Because I know the rules of the game," said Mourinho, who has been fielding questions about the player for several weeks. "You can only pick 11 men. If I leave out (Marcus) Rashford you ask me why. If I leave out Rooney you ask me why, but I cannot pick them all.

"I have a squad and I thought the best option against a quick-breaking side like Leicester was to play with two fast players out wide with Juan Mata in the middle."

That certainly seemed to work, and many United supporters will be questioning whether faster players should be selected as a matter of course and not just against Leicester.

Even though three of the home side's goals came from corners, the overall performance was aggressive and entertaining.

"It is not normal to score three times from a corner, but the intensity of our pressure led to the corners and therefore the goals," said Mourinho.

Paul Pogba scored his first goal for United and looked a class apart in midfield, where he was paired with Ander Herrera, who endured a difficult season under Louis van Gaal but impressed Mourinho.

"The pair complement each other in midfield," said the manager. "Pogba still needs to be consistent, but you can say that about the team as a whole.

"I know Herrera from La Liga. He is a good player, I like him a lot."

Leicester suffered a third defeat of the season - the same number they recorded throughout last season when claiming the Premier League title.

They were 0-4 down at half-time and so well beaten that manager Claudio Ranieri withdrew the key duo Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez with tomorrow's Champions League Group G clash with Porto in mind.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2016, with the headline 'No problem with Rooney: Mourinho'. Print Edition | Subscribe