Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Wayne Rooney has been affected by “strong” criticism he received after England’s recent win over Slovakia.
Rooney has endured a frustrating season and his place in the United team has been called into question in the build-up to Saturday’s match with Leicester.
“I think there was a Wayne before the Slovakia-England and a Wayne after the Slovakia-England,” Mourinho said.
England won 1-0 in Trnava but Rooney did not impress in a midfield role.
Mourinho added: “I am not blaming Sam [Allardyce, England manager], not at all.
“I am blaming the people that after England-Slovakia were, in my opinion, too strong with somebody that is a very important player in the history of English football.
“I think it was too much but I still think, a big boy like he is, he has to face it in a strong way.”
Mourinho also insisted his captain is not too important to be dropped from the starting XI.
“[In] football everyone is the same and if he has to go on the bench, he goes on the bench. If he has to stay at home, he stays at home,” he said.
“But that doesn’t mean that you don’t trust him or you have a problem. Not at all.
“We have no problems. He is our captain but, of course, no privilege – he is like anyone else.”
United forward Anthony Martial will miss the visit of Leicester because of heavy bruising on his calf and ankle.
Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are fit after groin and thigh injuries respectively but Phil Jones is out.
Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel has overcome concussion but has a muscle strain which could delay his return.
Marcin Wasilewski is banned after his midweek red card against Chelsea, while Nampalys Mendy will not be risked.
MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES
Simon Brotherton: “Three league defeats in a row is almost unthinkable for Jose Mourinho and has only happened once before in his managerial career, but he’ll need to find a better formula than the one used at Vicarage Road a week ago to avoid it happening this weekend.
“Last week’s win over Burnley was more like it from Leicester, with new signing Islam Slimani scoring twice on his league debut. But the champions haven’t started well on their travels this season, losing at Hull and Liverpool.
“Leicester’s only win in the last 16 meetings with Manchester United was the memorable 5-3 game two years ago. Both matches ended 1-1 last season, with the latter draw in May preceding Leicester’s title celebrations two days later when Spurs lost at Chelsea.”
WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on Leicester City: “They won the Premier League because some of the big teams were not good enough last season, but they won because they were very good and they are still very good.
“Their defensive process is clear, their attacking organisation is very easy to understand, too, but it is very difficult to cope with it.
“It is very difficult to keep a clean sheet against a team like Leicester and it is difficult to score goals against a team like Leicester.”
Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri: “We are fearless. Why are we scared to go there? More than lose, what can we do there? “I enjoy – 70,000 people is amazing, fantastic. I don’t want to go when there is just you and me to play. It is a very bad show.
“When you go in this big stadium you want to show your best.”
Leicester are still a decent side but, understandably, they have struggled to replace N’Golo Kante and are not at the same level they were last season.
I think they will let Manchester United have some chances on Saturday and I am backing Jose Mourinho’s side to win, with the proviso he has to address his selection issues.
Lawro’s full predictions v world number one darts player Michael van Gerwen
- Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
- Manchester United are unbeaten in seven home league games against Leicester, whose only win in their 18 most recent trips to Old Trafford came in January 1998 courtesy of a Tony Cottee winner.
- Three of Leicester’s six victories away to Manchester United came before the Second World War.
- Leicester’s solitary win in the last 16 competitive meetings came in September 2014 when they triumphed 5-3 at home in the Premier League.
- Jose Mourinho could suffer three consecutive league defeats for only the second time in his career, having previously done so at Chelsea last year.
- Mourinho has lost 12 of his last 23 league games as a manager. His previous 12 league defeats came over a period of 110 games.
- Manchester United have not lost two of their opening three home matches in a league season since 1986-87.
- They have covered 526.6km, less ground than any other team in the Premier League so far this season.
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored in six successive home league appearances, amassing 12 goals.
- The Foxes have gone four successive away matches without a win in the league. They could lose three away games in a row for the first time since December 2014.
- If Leicester lose they will equal the three Premier League defeats they suffered in the entirety of last season.
- Islam Slimani has scored 22 goals in 23 league appearances in 2016, including nine headers.
- Jamie Vardy has scored in three of his four games against Manchester United in all competitions.
- Claudio Ranieri has not lost any of his last four meetings against a team led by Jose Mourinho (W2, D2).
SAM (Sports Analytics Machine) is a super-computer created by @ProfIanMcHale at the University of Salford that is used to predict the outcome of football matches.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37393483