Wayne Rooney has blamed Manchester United’s players for the club’s humiliating defeat to Liverpool and has labelled the side’s performance as ‘not acceptable’.
United were thrashed 5-0 at home to Liverpool last weekend, the club’s biggest ever home defeat to their Merseyside rivals and the first time the Red Devils have conceded five goals without scoring on home soil since 1955.
The defeat extends their winless run to four Premier League fixtures and the pressure has mounted on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position as manager, though former club captain Rooney believes the blame must be placed on the players following a performance he deemed as unbefitting of Manchester United.
“There is a big responsibility on those players. They are world-class players, international players and a club like United need more,” the current Derby County boss said.
“Those players need to be hurt, need to feel when you lose games how much it hurts you.
“I’m seeing too many players not willing to run back, not willing to defend and not willing to put everything on the line for that club and that’s not acceptable.”
Rooney believes it is ‘too easy’ for the manager to take the majority of the blame for poor performances and insisted that the players are just as at fault for the embarrassing defeat.
“Are you telling me that’s the manager’s fault or the players’ fault? I don’t know,” he added.
“The players have to question themselves. It’s too easy for the manager to take all the stick when those players are being paid a lot of money to do the job and I don’t think they’re doing it well enough.”
Rooney has backed Solskjaer to keep trying to turn the club’s fortunes around, revealing his belief that the key difference between his former side and Liverpool is the latter’s work-rate off the ball.
“United are going through a difficult period – a difficult couple of weeks,” Rooney admitted.
“Obviously there’s pressure on Ole – everyone can see that. But I know Ole and he’s a fighter. He’ll keep doing the right things, believing in what he believes in, and trying to get more out of those players.
“The Liverpool game wasn’t easy to watch but that’s football.
“Liverpool are a fantastic team, similar to United in world-class players, with probably the best player in the world at the minute in Mo Salah, but the big difference is they are working off the ball. That’s the only difference.”