Manchester United stars must ‘look at themselves’ and take responsibility for poor run, Wayne Rooney insists

Manchester United’s players need to work harder and take responsibility to turn the club’s fortunes around, Wayne Rooney has said, who insisted that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not the only one to blame for their poor run of form.

United were thrashed 5-0 by rivals Liverpool last weekend in an embarrassing defeat at Old Trafford, but Solskjaer remains in charge ahead of the trip to the Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday.

The Independent understands that a group of United players are open to a change of manager, with Solskjaer under significant pressure following a run three defeats in the club’s last four Premier League matches.

Those players believe they are on the receiving end of unfair criticism as Solskjaer’s coaching and tactics have come under scrutiny, but United’s all-time leading scorer believes his former teammate is being let down.

Rooney, who is in charge of Championship club Derby County, stopped short of giving Solskjaer his full backing, but hit out at what he perceived to be a lack of workrate from the club’s first-team stars.

“There are very educated people at the top of Manchester United,” Rooney said. “I’m sure they will be looking at everything to see how they move forward in the near future, whether that’s with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or without.

“The players have to question themselves and look at themselves. It’s too easy for the manager to take all the stick when those players are being paid a lot of money to do the job and I don’t think they’re doing it well enough.

“There is a big responsibility on those players. They are world-class players, international players and a club like Manchester United need more. Those players need to feel hurt when they lose games.

“There are high demands at that club, high pressure, and I’m seeing too many players not willing to run back, not willing to defend, not willing to put everything on the line and that’s not acceptable. Are you telling me that’s the manager’s fault or the players’ fault? I don’t know.”

Rooney’s Derby side are bottom of the Championship following their 12-point deduction for going into administration, but the 36-year-old said his team’s work off the ball shows what is lacking at Old Trafford.

“The Liverpool game wasn’t easy to watch,” he continued. “Liverpool are a fantastic team, similar to United in terms of the world-class players they have and they probably have the best in the world at the minute in Mohamed Salah.

“But the only difference is that they are working off the ball. At Derby, my players know that they won’t play if they don’t work hard enough. There is no excuse not to work. It’s the first thing I said to the players when I took the job.

“Whatever decision [United] make they’ll feel it’s the right decision. What I know is you can’t just bow down to what [people on the outside] want.

“I’m sure United have a plan in place whether that’s with or without Ole. They will make decisions on that at the right time, I’m sure.”

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