Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has declared his support for Jose Mourinho and called on the players, including his former team-mates, to step up and take responsibility.
Rooney is currently playing in Washington with DC United. He was speaking after last weeks reports that Mourinho was set to be sacked by the club after a disappointing start to the season.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the 32-year-old English man said some of the Manchester United squad need to be better.
It has been a tough situation. The players, the manager, it has been a tough start to the season. I know Jose is getting a load of stick but I said a few weeks ago, the players have to stand up. They have to be counted and they have to be better.
The manager can do so much but then it is down to the players on the pitch to produce and probably collectively. It [the poor run of form] is a bit of everything coming together but Jose is an easy target. Some of the players have to be better.
Rooney went on to cite an interesting anecdote about the dressing room under former boss Louis Van Gaal and claimed that the team had been well set up under the Dutchman.
“I said the same thing when Louis van Gaal was there. He took a lot of stick but behind closed doors I said to the players, ‘We have to be doing better’. Personally, I think he set us up brilliantly the way but we didn’t produce on the pitch so I am sure that is getting said behind the scenes.”
His comments come at a difficult time for the club. Recently, a former team-mate of Rooney's, Rio Ferdinand, told BT Sport he believed that Paul Pogba may be a voice for collective unhappiness within the squad.
The problem is, I don’t think Paul Pogba is on his own is he’s voicing these types of things. I think there’s a group behind him. I don’t think it’s just him. What the manager is paid to do is be a manager and dictate to these players and make sure he rules from the top.
In recent weeks several pundits have been critical of the players, while on Saturday Match of the Day pundit Alan Shearer said the issue does not stop at one figure: "The whole club of late has been embarrassing, I think they all have to share the blame."
The Old Trafford faithful were in full voice last weekend as they watched their team fight back from 2-0 down to beat Newcastle 3-2. During that game, they demonstrated huge support for Mourinho and chanted against the board instead.
While there does seem to be much wrong at the club, it seems not everyone is of the opinion that the manager is the only issue. The club has concerns beyond that.