Saturday 24 March 2018

Wayne Rooney believes Jose Mourinho has helped remind Man United of their 'winning mentality'

Wayne Rooney, left, with Jose Mourinho
Wayne Rooney, left, with Jose Mourinho

Samuel Lovett

Wayne Rooney believes manager Jose Mourinho has helped remind Manchester United of their “winning mentality”, four years after Alex Ferguson brought the curtain down on his remarkable reign at Old Trafford.

Last season's FA Cup is the only major trophy United have had to show for the subsequent three seasons, with the 20-time Premier League champions even failing to qualify for the Champions League in two of those campaigns.

But after the underwhelming tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, characterised by a style of play distinctively non-United, the Manchester club are slowly rediscovering their taste for exciting and high-tempo football.

Last weekend’s victory over Leicester brought Mourinho’s men within two points of the top four, and Rooney has revealed that the Portuguese boss, known for his fiery disposition, has helped re-inject a sense of self-belief in the side after a number of years in the wilderness.

"He's obviously a top manager - I think his record at all the clubs he's been at shows that," the club's all-time top scorer said.

"I think he knows what he wants from the players, and the players know what the manager wants from them.

"He's strong in that sense but as long as you're doing what he wants, then I'm sure you'll be fine.

"I think you can see he has got a winning mentality - not that we didn't have that already, but he's certainly reminded us of that."

There is still work to do, though, as United chase the prospect of Champions League football.

Rooney accepts leaders Chelsea - 14 points better off than United - are all but out of reach, but is confident of providing some memorable moments before the season is out.

"I think it's going okay," he told GQ. "We're in a good position in terms of making the top four.

"Obviously our ambition was to try and be champions, which will be difficult now. We know that.

"But we're right there in terms of trying to place ourselves in the top four.

"We're still in the Europa League, in the final of the League Cup and still in the FA Cup, so they're trophies we believe we've got a strong enough squad to go and win.

"Then obviously now probably we have to look at trying to finish in the top four."

Independent News Service

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