Wayne Rooney: Man United players, not just LVG, must take responsibility
Wayne Rooney says Manchester United's players "have to take a lot of responsibility" for the club's woes, even while manager Louis Van Gaal says he'd rather the fans focus their ire on him.
Van Gaal was jeered by supporters in last Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Southampton in the most hostile reception he has received in his time in England.
And although United eased some pressure on Van Gaal by beating Derby 3-1 in the FA Cup on Friday, Rooney said Man United's troubles don't all stem from the Dutchman's leadership.
"It's unfair to say it's the manager," Rooney told Sunday newspapers. "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 percent, it doesn't always come off."
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Rooney also suggested that Van Gaal had listened to the "attack, attack" chants from the Old Trafford crowd and somewhat lightened his defensive approach.
"The manager gave us a lot of freedom to go and play and I think you can see the difference in the team," Rooney said.
"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 on Tuesday."
Van Gaal, meanwhile, insisted he can survive at Old Trafford -- even if the Manchester United fans turn on him again.
"I am always honest," the manager said. "I cannot predict. I am not a stupid man, I am an intelligent man and I cannot predict the atmosphere. I hope that we can give the same level of performance but we have to play another opponent.
"It's not so important that they yell at me. It's more important that they support the players. That's the most important thing. The players have the most difficult task. They have to give a result at that hour with that resistance and there are no excuses."
Former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Van Gaal admitted he has had difficult times before and vowed to weather this.
"When I am not so popular anymore it is not the first time that it has happened with me but I can survive," he added.
Van Gaal's team have been deemed boring because of their lack of goals but, after scoring three times at the iPro Stadium, he used that term sarcastically as he praised the vocal away fans.
"I think it's fantastic that such a big part is coming to watch the boring Manchester United, in spite of that," he said.