Wayne Rooney believes the Manchester United players should shoulder the responsibility for the side’s lacklustre campaign instead of Louis van Gaal.
The England star has been a crucial part of that resurgence, scoring six goals in January, but he believes he and his teammates were equally culpable in a disastrous period between November and December, which saw United go winless for eight-straight games in all competitions.
“It’s unfair to say it’s down to the manager,” Rooney said.
“We’re on the pitch, so the players have to take a lot of responsibility for performances and results.
“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.
“Even when you’re giving 100 per cent, it doesn’t always come off.”
Van Gaal denied that he had explicitly told the players to abandon his playing style after a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Southampton – in which United managed just one shot on target. Rooney, however, said it was obvious that the players enjoyed their performance on Friday much more than their league encounter.
“The manager gave us a lot of freedom to go and play and I think you can see the difference in the team,” he added.
“You can see we were enjoying it, scoring some good goals and thoroughly deserved to win so hopefully we can put in another performance like this against Stoke City on Tuesday.”