Jose Mourinho has challenged Wayne Rooney to score more goals for Manchester United after saying only Zlatan Ibrahimovic is living up to expectations with his strike-rate this season.
United face Tottenham on Sunday having scored just 19 goals in the Premier League this term, with Rooney failing get on the scoresheet in the league since the opening weekend victory against Bournemouth.
The United captain, who is now just one goal short of equalling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time record of 249 for the club, has scored just three in all competitions this season and Mourinho wants the 31-year-old to rediscover his form to help alleviate the burden on Ibrahimovic.
“As an attacking player, normally he [Rooney] scores more goals,” Mourinho said after United’s 2-0 Europa League victory against Zorya Luhansk in Odessa. “He scored a couple, I think, at Fenerbahce and one in the Premier League.
“We expect more goals from him, yes, but we expect more goals from everyone in the team.
“Maybe Zlatan is the one, but as the main striker it is normal that he has more goals scored. But all the other attacking players, we expect more goals from them.”
Rooney’s goal drought has coincided with uncertainty over his best position, with England managers Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce and Gareth Southgate all using the player in a deeper role this year.
The England captain has even been used as a deep-lying midfielder on the international stage, but Mourinho said: “With me, he is an attacking player.
“In the national team, they can do with him what they want to do. In the national team he is their player, he is not my player, and they can do what they want.
“If they want to play him right-back, they can play him right-back. It’s not my problem, but in my team, he is an attacking player — he will play as a nine or a 10, or eventually coming from one of the sides.”
Having secured a place in the last 32 of the Europa League with the victory against Zorya, United remain alive in four competitions this season.
Mourinho said progress is being made by his team, but admits the lack of goals is the key issue to rectify.
“I think the team is playing very well,” he said. “I think the team is playing very well and probably the Ukrainians fan did not see the best Manchester United of the season.
“Because the best Manchester United of the season was the team that played the last four, five or six matches in the Premier League, and managed one victory and four or five draws.
“We are playing very, very well, but we need more goals.”