Mourinho offers a cryptic defence for under-fire Rooney
Jose Mourinho believes the Football Association should have looked after Wayne Rooney better, with the Manchester United manager suggesting his captain's late-night antics were tamer than some other England players.
Not for the first time in his career, the 31-year-old's lifestyle has come under scrutiny after his starting role in the World Cup qualifying win against Scotland was followed by injury and controversy.
Rooney missed Tuesday's 2-2 draw with Spain due to a minor knee complaint and has dominated the headlines since then, with The Sun printing images showing the England skipper, wearing a training top, looking the worse for wear.
The forward is alleged to have dropped in on a wedding party at The Grove hotel until the early hours of Sunday, leading him to "unreservedly" apologise to interim England manager Gareth Southgate, the FA and young fans.
Mourinho says last weekend "didn't go well" for Rooney and indicated his annoyance at what has panned out, albeit not apportioning the blame necessarily at Southgate's door - a manager he referred to as 'Gary'.
"I don't speak, I don't speak," Mourinho said when asked if the forward had been let down by the people around him.
"The only thing I say is that the player goes to the national team, he belongs to the national team.
"I learned since I was a kid, if somebody lends me something, I have to take care even better than if it was mine. Since the school, you know?
"Your friend lent you a pencil, you have to take care of the pencil better than if it is your pencil, so I think when one day if I become a national team manager I will try (to).
"I am not saying that I will be successful on that, and I am not being critic with Gary and with anyone.
"I get the occasion to wish Gary the best of luck publicly, but I think you have to build something to protect what is not yours, what someone lends you."
Asked if Rooney should have been at the hotel bar until the early hours, Mourinho retorted: "I would have a great answer for you - I don't want to have (one) because, again, I don't want to speak about it.
"But if you go one by one to see where these 23 players were, some of them were in worse places than the hotel bar."
Such comments underline why the FA is reviewing its policy relating to players' free time, while Mourinho says the headlines of previous days have had "an effect" on Rooney.
The United boss highlighted that the wall around people always has "points of fragility", although his captain has the chance to forget that background noise having been passed fit to face Arsenal.
The Red Devils approach the match two places and six points worse off than Arsene Wenger's fourth-placed side, although Mourinho has never lost a Premier League match to his old foe.
The pair's relationship on the touchline and away from it has been intriguing over the years, with the Portuguese calling his Arsenal counterpart a "specialist in failure'' in early 2014.
There were no such inflammatory remarks on Friday, but Mourinho believes he is afforded less respect than a manager who last won the league in 2004.
"Maybe it's my fault," the United boss said. "Maybe I put the level so high that people doesn't expect different than that.
"I won at every club, I was champion in every club, I won cups with every club.
"I won in every country, I won in four different countries. I won in Europe, I won in domestic competitions.
"I won always in the first or second season so nobody here is saying 'okay, let's see if he can win with Man United at the third season'.
"Nobody is saying that, nobody is saying that. Nobody says I deserve time, that I deserve credibility, that it's not a bad result that affects the credibility of somebody with 23 titles in four different countries. That's just that.
"Maybe it's my fault, so I'm not even against you or upset with the pundits that are being every critical.
"Maybe I should be proud of it because maybe it's my fault. Maybe it's my fault."