Manchester United

Wayne Rooney slams Man Utd players for effort levels following poor form

Scott Saunders
Wayne Rooney has had his say on Man Utd's plight
Wayne Rooney has had his say on Man Utd's plight / Ashley Allen/GettyImages

Manchester United legend and record goalscorer Wayne Rooney has pointed the finger at the playing squad following their 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool - insisting the effort levels do not meet the club's standards.

United were humiliated by their rivals on Sunday at Old Trafford, heaping even more pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following an already poor run of form.

Rooney, a former teammate of Solskjaer's, is currently manager at Derby County, but offered his thoughts on the plight of his former club ahead of United's trip to Tottenham on Saturday evening.

"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."

90min understands that United decision makers are currently looking at alternative options to Solskjaer as they consider a managerial change, with the likes of Antonio Conte strongly linked as his replacement in the days following the Liverpool defeat.

United face three crucial games before the international break, with a trip to Atalanta and a derby with Manchester City set to follow Saturday's trip to Spurs. Poor performances and/or defeats in any of the three games could force United to pull the trigger. But Rooney believes the players should take responsibility instead of the manager.

"The players have to question themselves," he said. "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.

"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."

On United's potential decision to change manager, Rooney added: "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."