This season has seen many changes made at Old Trafford both to the manager and coaching staff as well as the first team squad. One of the biggest changes has seen club captain Wayne Rooney dropped to the bench for the past number of games as he last made the starting line-up in the League back on September 18th when United went down to a comprehensive 3-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road. Unfortunately for Rooney, he picked up a niggling thigh injury in the 4-1 Europa League victory against Turkish giants Fenerbahce. The captain clearly wanted to make the most of the opportunity to effect the game from the start as he concealed the extent of the injury and played on pushing through the pain barrier to complete the full 90 minutes. He subsequently aggravated the injury in training after that game which made him unavailable for the past 2 games.
With some pundits and media publications suggesting Rooney could or should leave Old Trafford to get more playing time, Jose Mourinho has insisted the player is “going nowhere”. The manager has already come out and said he will not disrespect Rooney and it was only 2 years ago the then Chelsea manager was attempting to buy the England captain and build the team around him at Stamford Bridge.
When responding to the suggestion that Rooney has been told to find another club to secure more consistent first team football, the manager had this to say as reported by the BBC :
“There is no problem at all but you need stories to sell papers,” said the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager.
“[Rooney] is a top player, a very important player for us. He is going nowhere – we like him, he likes us. He’s not happy because he’s been on the bench but he is even unhappier when he’s injured.”
So Rooney is back fit again and Mourinho sent him on as a second half substitute replacing Juan Mata in the 72nd minute in the game against Burnley today. The manager was hoping that the captain could help United to an unlikely win over Sean Dyche’s men after Ander Herrera was disappointingly sent off on 68 minutes. Frustratingly for all Red-Devils fans and the players and particularly the manager who was sent to the stand for arguing with the referee in the tunnel at half-time, United could only draw 0-0. The Reds peppered former United keeper Tom Heaton in the Burnley goal with 37 shots (11 of which were on target). Heaton produced a particularly fine save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic who looked to have broken the dead-lock with a superb acrobatic volley only to see the ball stopped by the Burnley keeper.
So United threw everything at Burnley and they did produce another quality performance but Ibrahimovic continues to have bad luck in front of goal as he hit the bar and went very close on a number of occasions. After coming on as a substitute, Wayne Rooney could not supply the necessary quality to add to the solitary goal he has scored for United so far this season meaning that Jose Mourinho has to deal with another disappointing result on the back of a good team performance. To make matters worse as well as dealing with his own disciplinary issues Jose will be without the in-form Ander Herrera for 3 games after the Spanish midfielder was sent off by referee Mark Clattenberg.