Wednesday 29 January 2020

Jose Mourinho: Wayne Rooney willingly gave penalty duties to Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, left, has handed penalty duty to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, right
Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, left, has handed penalty duty to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, right

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has willingly passed penalty duties to Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

There was no debate about who would take the spot-kick when Luke Shaw tumbled in the box in Friday's 2-0 win over Southampton, with Ibrahimovic quick to pick up the ball before slotting home from 12 yards for his second of goal of the match.

Last season Rooney, United's second top scorer of all time with 246, would have been first choice to take the shot but he was happy to allow the club's new number nine to assume the responsibility.

Mourinho named Rooney, Ibrahimovic and £89million record signing Paul Pogba as his three preferred penalty takers and allowed them to determine their own pecking order.

"I designated three - Paul, Wayne and Zlatan - but sometimes I like the players to have the feeling 'this is for me'," he said.

"Wayne and Paul told themselves 'Zlatan, when a penalty comes you are the first. If you don't want to take it for some reason we are here, but you are the man. Between them they made that decision."

Mourinho had plenty to be satisfied about after his first Premier League match in charge at Old Trafford, with Pogba highly impressive on debut, Ibrahimovic to the manor born in his new environment and strong showings from the likes of Shaw, Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia.

But he also allowed himelf a moment to commiserate with those left on the sidelines, with a handful of decorated internationals not even among the substitutes.

"I have so many good players," Mourinho said. "I arrive in the dressing room after the match and I was happy but then I become sad, because I arrive there and all the other guys are there in their nice Paul Smith suit but not a tracksuit, not even playing, not even being on the bench.

"I am desperate for September. Because September we have Capital One Cup, we have Europa League...we have seven matches in September and they all play and then I am happy.

"I need September because all these guys need to play, they deserve to play. So Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Jones, Rojo, Romero, Herrera, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Young, Memphis Depay, Marcus Rashford.

"We have a big squad and a top quality squad so I need September urgently."

Southampton were not played off the park at the Theatre of Dreams, and arguably should have scored at least one goal after creating a number of decent breaks.

The closest they came was a disallowed effort from Dusan Tadic, but Irish striker Shane Long also missed a couple of presentable chances.

Having taken one point from their first two games, at home to Watford on the opening weekend, Long knows next week's game against Sunderland is already important.

"Last week was disappointing because we should have won, and then we could have scraped a draw at Old Trafford on Friday," Long told

"Next week is now a big game for us. If we can get the win there and a few goals, it will give us a positive outlook again and then we can kick on from there.

"Our form at home could really push us up the table. Sunderland will probably come and sit in and make it tough for us offensively. So we're going to need to be really up for the game."

PA Media

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