Sunday 17 December 2017

Summer signings show we mean business - Rooney

Bournemouth’s Steve Cook falls to the ground under pressure from Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters
Bournemouth’s Steve Cook falls to the ground under pressure from Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney. Photo: Hannah McKay/Reuters

Jason Burt

Wayne Rooney declared that Manchester United have made a "real statement" this season with their summer signings that they intend to win the Premier League title.

It was a view reiterated by United manager Jose Mourinho who said his team would "fight until it's impossible" to be champions again.

Interestingly, following yesterday's impressive 3-1 away victory away to Bournemouth which kicked off United's league campaign, and given how experienced he is, the Portuguese also professed there had been pre-match nerves for him.

"To be honest, yes a little bit before the game," said Mourinho, who was sacked last December by Chelsea as their title defence imploded.

"For somebody with so many years in football, to have that feeling is normal.

"I never forget coming with Real Madrid to Old Trafford and asking Sir Alex (Ferguson) if he was still nervous: 'Yes.' I understand it never changes.

"Experience helps with many things but it's good to have a little feeling," Mourinho added.

Rooney was among the goal-scorers - along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic on his league debut - and said of United's prospects: "You always believe that you can win titles but I think we have made a real statement this season.

"Bringing Zlatan in, Paul Pogba, (Eric) Bailly and (Henrik) Mkhitaryan to improve our team. We also have a successful manager who has won trophies everywhere he has been. So there is excitement not only with ourselves but with fans and we can sense that."

Rooney was asked if his own position in the team would be under greater scrutiny with the changes, and said: "I keep doing it. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I have played this game a long time I believe in my ability.

"I'm confident and I believe I'm good enough to play and if I play, I'm confident I will score goals."

Mourinho added that the vastly experienced Ibrahimovic - whose former clubs include PSG, AC Milan, Barcelona, Juventus and Ajax - is already helping United's young players.

"Look, the first thing I can tell you is that (at) his table for breakfast and for meals he is surrounded by the young ones, the kids," Mourinho said. "Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford ... these are the guys who are with him at the table. He knows what he can be for them."

A frustrated Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe pointed to his team's defensive errors, which gifted United their opening goal by Juan Mata, as being pivotal. "We'd started really well," he said. "Not cut them apart and created many chances, but it was 50-50. It (the goal) was out of nothing.

"It wasn't like they'd broken our shape and scored an outstanding goal. It was scrappy."

Irish Independent

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