English Premiership

Rooney: We have to take criticism

2016-02-02 17:00
Wayne Rooney (Getty Images)
Cape Town - Wayne Rooney can help ease the pressure on beleaguered Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and move closer to Bobby Charlton's club scoring record if he maintains his hot streak against Stoke City in the Premier League on Tuesday.

United forgot their league woes on Friday when they won 3-1 at Championship side Derby County in the FA Cup with Rooney's superb curling shot taking his tally to six in six games and 243 for the club, six behind Charlton.

Van Gaal's team return to league action for the first time since losing 1-0 at home to Southampton, lying fifth in the table on 37 points – 10 adrift of leaders Leicester City and five away from the top four.

Leicester will continue their unlikely push for a first-ever title when they face 18-time champions Liverpool at the King Power. Second-placed Manchester City go to Sunderland, third-placed Arsenal host Southampton and fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur visit Norwich City.

The spotlight will be on Van Gaal, however, and Rooney is hoping he can take the heat off his Dutch manager when they face a Stoke side managed by former United striker Mark Hughes.

Stoke have lost all seven Premier League matches they have played at Old Trafford and have not won there for almost 40 years.


Rooney overtook Charlton's record of 49 goals for England this season and he told the United website he could not help but have one eye on the club record now.

"Of course, I'm well aware of it" he said.

"Like the England record, when it was getting closer, it was coming up every week, so I'm sure it will now."

Rooney said it was unfair to lay all the blame for the team's struggles on the manager.

"The players have to take a lot of responsibility for performances and results," he said.

"We have to stand up and take criticism when it's there."

Leicester have confounded expectations to move to top spot, losing only twice in the league all season.

Liverpool inflicted their last league defeat with a 1-0 win at Anfield on Boxing Day, but Leicester have maintained their form since and sit three points clear of Manchester City and Arsenal after 23 matches.

Arsenal, without a win in their last three league games, face Southampton at the Emirates and their long injury list is finally showing signs of shrinking with striker Alexis Sanchez scoring in the 2-1 FA Cup win over Burnley on Saturday.

City, with 13 goals in their last four league and Cup games face relegation-threatened Sunderland while Spurs, rounding out the top four on 42 points, will seek to extend their 10-match unbeaten league away run at Norwich.


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22 October 2016
Bournemouth v Tottenham Hotspur, Vitality Stadium 13:30
Arsenal v Middlesbrough, Emirates Stadium 16:00
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v Watford, Liberty Stadium 16:00
West Ham United v Sunderland, Olympic Stadium 16:00
Hull City v Stoke City, The KC Stadium 16:00
Burnley v Everton, Turf Moor 16:00
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion, Anfield 18:30
23 October 2016
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Manchester United, Stamford Bridge 17:00
29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
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