Jose Mourinho has explained the reasons behind Wayne Rooney‘s manifest anger after being taken off during Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
Rooney, with his side pressing for a winner against Alan Pardew’s side, was taken off after 80 minutes for Marcus Rashford and as most best betting websites would have shown, that gave us a real edge in attack.
The striker was decidedly furious as he came off, shaking his head and ranting, before smashing a boot against the dug-out wall. Many onlookers assumed that the captain’s rage stemmed from Mourinho’s decision to withdraw him from the action.
However Mourinho, speaking after the game, quickly shed light on the real reason behind Rooney’s frustration.
“He was angry with a possible penalty,” Mourinho said.
“He was complaining with the referee on the pitch, he was complaining with the fourth official on the bench, he was really upset with it, but even at 1-1 I told him ‘Forget it, let’s forget it.’
“No, I didn’t [see the handball]. I didn’t see. The only thing I can say is the referee is good, he’s good. He is one of the good young referees and I like his work, if he made mistakes, unlucky for him and unlucky for us but he is a very good referee and you have to support.”
A rarely highlighted positive quickly emanating from the Mourinho era is the sudden re-emergence of fury into Rooney’s game. Man United fans had grown used to the stocky, plaintive figure of Rooney – clearly past his best – roaming around the pitch in an almost wistful way. The effort was there, no doubt. But the bubbling, incandescent rage and passion that used to herald the striker’s approach was nowhere to be seen.
The Portuguese, however, perhaps through his decision to sideline the captain for several weeks, has managed to bring that fundamental aspect of Rooney’s persona back to life.
Bad news if you happen to be a football boot, or any inanimate object that happens to be near Rooney at any given time. United fans, on the other hand, will hope to see the captain maintain such an attitude as the season goes on.