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ESPN FC  By ESPN

Mourinho won't stop Wayne Rooney from lifting EFL Cup if he doesn't play

Wayne Rooney will be allowed to lift the EFL Cup trophy should Man United beat Southampton on Sunday -- even if he doesn't play in the final, manager Jose Mourinho says.

Rooney's position with the club has been called into question in recent weeks after the forward has played just 45 minutes in February and had to issue a statement that he isn't planning an imminent move away from Old Trafford.

And while Mourinho has said that he won't hold a place in his starting XI for the 31-year-old simply for sentimental reasons, he has continued to respect Rooney's role as club captain.

Asked if he would still allow Rooney to lift the trophy if he doesn't get off the bench at Wembley, Mourinho told MUTV: "I think he's our captain. Playing or being on the bench -- he's always our captain.

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"But I don't care. We just want to win. If we win, I don't care who lifts the cup. I just want to win the match.

"He is our captain but I don't think he cares, I don't think anyone does. We all just want to win."

Should United win on Sunday, Mourinho will match Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough by claiming the League Cup for a fourth time as a manager, and he said he agreed with Ferguson's belief that any trophy will mean a positive year.

"I don't think that's changed," Mourinho said. "It's so difficult to win trophies in England and in some countries it's really easy when you are in the right clubs."

Asked if the chance to match the record mark added any pressure, Mourinho said: "I'm not nervous. I've had many years in football, many finals -- I want to play. I want to win, I want to feel responsibility, big responsibility -- that's all.

"I'll go for dinner with all my assistants. We're in a positive way, we're together and we start now being together and focused on the game. It's not one more game, it's always a special match."

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