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Van Gaal admits Rooney has piled pressure on himself

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Rooney has conceded he is out of form
Rooney has conceded he is out of form

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes his captain Wayne Rooney has piled pressure on himself by admitting he has been below his best in the opening weeks of the new season.

Rooney suggested his display in last Friday's game against Aston Villa was not up to scratch, with many United supporters quick to suggest that was not the only game when the club's lead striker failed to deliver this season.

Yet Van Gaal has welcomed Rooney's acceptance that he has been below par, as he backed the England captain to bounce back to his best in the next few weeks.

"When you are saying so publicly that you are bad, then you know that you are very bad at that time," Van Gaal told reporters. 

“It starts always with the player himself. He has to admit that he is bad and then he can improve. When you don't admit, you cannot improve.

"I think that's fantastic that a player will admit that. It's also, for me, unbelievable, because he is one of the few players who is saying those things.

“This because it can after a few weeks be a threat of the media again, or pressure from the media - I don't know that word I want to say, so I can't express it.

“He takes a risk, I think, but he is very confident that he will make the goals that we expect that from him, and I am confident also.”

Van Gaal backed Rooney to start scoring goals soon and suggested in these comments that he would not be afraid to drop his skipper if he failed to spark into life in front of goal.

"My standards he knows already,” added Van Gaal. “He knows my philosophy and what I want from a striker.

“He thinks that he can perform that and I think that also, otherwise I would not put him in the striker position.

“I have tried last year all the positions for him (Rooney) and he can play in various positions - he is multi-functional."

“I think his best position is the striker position and he agreed with that conclusion, and the second position is the No. 10.”

Rooney has failed to score in his last eight Premier League appearances, with his last goal coming against Aston Villa back in March.