Wayne Rooney admits he and his Manchester United team-mates have let new manager David Moyes down in the opening weeks of the season.
The Reds fought back from a goal down to beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday, courtesy of two goals from young Adnan Januzaj. This was a much-needed win for the reigning champions, who have already suffered three defeats in the Premier League as they try to adapt to life without the great Sir Alex Ferguson.
Such a sequence of results has piled the pressure on Moyes, who left Everton to succeed his Scottish compatriot during the summer. But Rooney, who played under the 50-year-old during their time together at Goodison Park, has leapt to the defence of the manager, claiming it is he and the players who have let the side down this term.
“Obviously the manager is under a bit of pressure, but we know as a team it’s us who have let him down,” said Rooney. “We have to pull together for the manager. This will be a transition season, because it’s a new manager with different styles and we have to adapt to them. More importantly we need to do better for him than we have been.”
Whilst Rooney’s words will be designed to act as a fillip to his team-mates, he himself has been in fine form since being forced to abandon his summer wish to leave the club. The 27-year-old, who will celebrate his birthday later this month, has scored five goals in eight matches in all competitions, regaining the support of the fans in the process.
Despite their stuttering start to the league campaign, which leaves them in ninth position and six points adrift of leaders Arsenal, United have collected four points from two matches in the UEFA Champions League, whilst Liverpool were despatched at Old Trafford to ensure progress in the League Cup. Added to this the pre-season win over Wigan Athletic in the Community Shield, it could yet be a successful debut season for Moyes.
In an odd pattern of fixtures, United’s trip to Wearside at the weekend will be their one and only match away from home this month. When the Premier League season resumes after the international break, Southampton and Stoke City visit Old Trafford. Real Sociedad also make the journey for the third Champions League fixtures, whilst Chris Hughton brings his Norwich City side north for the fourth round of the League Cup.