Jose Mourinho: Legend Wayne Rooney will get respect in Old Trafford return
MANCHESTER -- Jose Mourinho believes Wayne Rooney will get a good reception when he returns to Old Trafford with Everton -- just not during the game.
Rooney returns to United on Sunday for the first time since his summer move to Goodison Park, and Mourinho said the the club's record goal scorer deserves the reception of "a legend."
But the United boss stressed that he did not want sentiment to get in the way of his team's bid to stay top of the Premier League table.
"I think he will get the welcome that he deserves," Mourinho told a news conference on Friday.
"Sometimes in this country, the word legend comes too easily. That's not the case here. He is a real legend of this club.
"The number of appearances, the number of goals, the number of trophies.
"I think, clearly, he is one of the most important players in the history of Manchester United, and I think the stadium will show him the respect he deserves, I hope before and after the match, not during the match."
Everton's visit to Old Trafford also sees home striker Romelu Lukaku come up against his former club on a run of six goals in six games in all competitions.
And Mourinho believes the 24-year-old has been able to adapt so quickly because friends like Paul Pogba -- who will miss the Everton game with a hamstring injury -- were already in the dressing room.
He added: "I think he has come here at the right moment. He is a good age. He has a good number of years of experience with different clubs in the Premier League.
"He is clearly a player who has adapted to the Premier League. He has good friends already in the dressing room, and has had an easy integration into our group.
"The way the team is trying to play has good relation to his qualities as a player. So I think he has come at the right moment of his career."
Mourinho said on Friday he expected Pogba to miss "a few matches" with the hamstring injury sustained against Basel on Tuesday.
Luke Shaw is fit again after playing three times for the under-23s, but the United manager believes Marcos Rojo is "months" away from a comeback following a knee ligament injury.
He said: "Luke Shaw is not injured any more so it's a question of form, of options, but he is not injured. He has recovered from his injury.
"Marcos Rojo is still not ready. In the timings after such an important injury, everything went really well but he's not even training with the group in normal sessions, he is just doing parts of it.
"So I still think that Marcos has in front of him probably a couple of months."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.