Rooney - Blame the players and NOT Van Gaal for United woes

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Rooney leaps to Van Gaal's defence
Rooney leaps to Van Gaal's defence

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has insisted manager Louis van Gaal is not to blame for the club's woes this season - as he insists the players have to take a bulk of the blame.

Rooney has exploded back into life in recent weeks with a glut of goals to silence his own critics, yet United's fans are still restless over the future of manager Van Gaal.

Now Rooney has claimed that the players should take their share of the criticism, as they prepare for Tuesday night's Premier League clash with Stoke at Old Trafford.

"It’s unfair to say it’s down to the manager, we’re on the pitch. So the players have to take a lot of responsibility," Rooney told reporters. 

"We have to stand up and take criticism when it’s there. We want to win, of course we always want to win, and we’re trying. But even when you’re giving 100%, it doesn’t always come off."

Van Gaal admits he cannot predict whether he will receive a good reception when he returns to Old Trafford on Tuesday night, after he was booed off following his side's last home game, a 1-0 defeat against Southampton.

“I'm not a stupid man. I'm an intelligent man and I cannot predict the atmosphere. I hope that we can give the same level of performance as we did at Derby in our next match," he stated.

"When I'm not so popular, then okay. It's also not the first time that it's happened with me but I can survive.

“It's not important that they yell at me. It's better for me that they are supporting the players - that's the most important thing.

"The players have the most difficult task. They have to give a result at that hour with that resistance that they often face.

“For them there are no excuses. They have to support the fans. I'm always honest. The reaction of the crowd after Southampton was an exception but okay. I cannot predict that."