Rooney was left on the bench for Saturday’s game at Old Trafford against Leicester City after a string of disappointing performances and it was one of the club’s best showings yet, with four goals in the first-half alone.
The Portuguese boss traced Rooney’s drop in form to England’s 1-0 victory in the World Cup qualifier in Trnava where he was given a free role by Sam Allardyce.
Speaking about his decision, Mourinho claims his side still completely trust Rooney.
“He is my captain, he is the club captain, the players’ captain and that is difficult because sometimes you are the club captain because you have lots of years in the club, sometimes you are the manager’s captain because the manager likes you very much, sometimes you are the players’ but not the manager’s one,” he said.
“Wayne is the captain of the club, the manager and the players. He is trusted by the players, he is trusted by myself and he represents the club in a fantastic way as a player and person and what is now socially.
“Football is a different story. 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. 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.”
“Honestly, I think there was a Wayne before the Slovakia-England and a Wayne after the Slovakia-England,” Mourinho said. “And I am not blaming Sam, not at all. I am blaming the people who after the England–Slovakia were, in my opinion, too strong with somebody that is a very important player in the history of English football, is the captain of England, is the record of goals, is almost the record of matches. 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.”
Before the international break, United had won three of their opening three league matches plus the Community Shield and Rooney had scored at Bournemouth.
However, after the break United lost three games in a row, two in the Premier League before Wednesday’s EFL Cup win at Northampton Town.
Now the losses since the break haven’t completely been Rooney’s fault but he has definitely been below-par and has not been performing well enough to even get into the starting XI.
After United’s incredible showing with Rooney on the bench today, Mourinho will know the root of his problems at Old Trafford and hopes are he learns from his mistakes.