Former Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson is hopeful Wayne Rooney can hit the goal trail once more for Jose Mourinho’s side.
United captain Rooney has fallen out of the first-team for club and country but ended a 14-game scoring drought – including England appearances – with a superb consolation in a 2-1 Europa League loss to Fenerbahce on Thursday.
Atkinson, who recently released his autobiography “The Manager”, believes this could be just the boost the 31-year-old needs.
“I still think it was a brave decision because I still think he’s their best goalscorer,” he told Omnisport when discussing Mourinho’s decision to demote Rooney in Premier League games.
“I don’t mean he’s got the most goals but I still think he’s capable of scoring goals.
“It’s my belief the first time he gets back in, if he can get back in and knock a couple of goals in in one game, you watch. He’ll go off on a streak then.”
Mourinho assessed his players’ performance in Turkey in withering terms but Atkinson remains confident the Portuguese will come good at Old Trafford.
The man who immediately preceded Alex Ferguson’s glorious reign at United also feels Mourinho could have been pursued for the post sooner.
However, he feels United’s transfer policy has lacked direction and identified adding world-class pace and ability alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a priority.
“It may even have been two or even three years later than it should have been,” he said of Mourinho’s appointment, which follows the underwhelming tenures of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
“Sometimes events take over and you can’t always determine that. I definitely think he’ll get it right but I think he’ll be a bit surprised there’s not quite the quality at the club he would have anticipated.
“I’m not too sure how much he’s had to do with the players that have come in. I think a lot of those were negotiated before he came in.
“So I think that the next chance he gets to buy players he’s got to be spot on. He’s got to get players that come in and hit the ground running.
“I think Ibrahimovic was a great signing. I think he needs support round him. He needs quick people, but established quick people. If for argument’s sake he was playing with someone like [Alexis] Sanchez at Arsenal, they’d be unstoppable.”
Atkinson added that United are burdensomely overstocked in the midfield department following Paul Pogba’s arrival from Juventus for a world-record fee.
He said: “United bought about three or four midfield players in one hit, like [Morgan] Schneiderlein. [Juan] Mata was already there, [Marouane] Fellaini was already there.
“Pogba’s come in and you go, ‘Has anybody looked and gone why do we need all those?’. Why don’t we just buy one of those and put the extra money [towards another player]?’.
“[Ander] Herrera was there as well. Why not get rid of one or two of those and use the money to bring in a Luis Suarez.”
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