Wayne Rooney insists Manchester United’s players must “question themselves” and take responsibility for their poor form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United manager Solskjaer has come under huge pressure following Sunday’s 5-0 defeat by Liverpool at Old Trafford, a result that leaves his side seventh in the Premier League.
Expectations were high heading into the season having spent big money to bring Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho to the club, but after a run of five defeats in 10 games, questions are being asked about those purchases and whether Solskjaer has been making the right line-up calls.
However, as the Norwegian prepares for a crucial trip to Spurs on Saturday Night Football, his former team-mate and current Derby boss Rooney believes United’s players must fight harder for their manager.
“There is a big responsibility on those players. They are world-class players, international players and a club like United need more,” Rooney 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.”
“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.”
‘Solskjaer is a fighter’
It is understood Solskjaer is expected to remain in charge of United despite the heavy loss to Liverpool and the fact a small number of players have reservations.
The majority – if not all – of the United squad like Solskjaer as a man, but some are doubting if he can deliver success as a manager.
United’s record goalscorer Rooney added: “United are going through a difficult period – a difficult couple of weeks.
“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.
“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.
“Whatever decision the club makes, they’ll feel it’s the right decision.
“What I know is you can’t just bow down to what the press want or what the fans want. I’m sure United have a plan in place whether that’s with or without Ole.
“They will come out and speak on that or make decisions on that at the right time, I’m sure.
“They are very educated people at the top of the club. I’m sure they will be looking at everything to see how they move forward in the near future, whether that’s with Ole or without.”
October 30: Tottenham (a) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
November 2: Atalanta (a) – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
November 6: Man City (h) – Premier League, kick-off 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports
November 20: Watford (a) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
November 23: Villarreal (a) – Champions League, kick-off 5.45pm
November 28: Chelsea (a) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
December 2: Arsenal (h) – Premier League, kick-off 8.15pm