Jose Mourinho maintained Wayne Rooney has a big part to play for Manchester United despite dropping the England captain for Saturday’s 4-1 Premier League win over Leicester City.
United were rampant during the first half at Old Trafford, with Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba all on target before the break as Rooney watched on.
But speaking after the match, Mourinho insisted 83rd-minute substitute Rooney retained his trust after a string of heavily criticised displays during the opening weeks of the season.
“He is a big player for me, a big player for Untied and a big payer for this country,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I have nothing else to say, he is my man I trust him completely.
“His team won, his United won. That’s normal [that he is happy].”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the line as his fledgling partnership with Rooney was put on hold and Mourinho was delighted with the former Paris Saint-Germain star’s display despite him not getting on the scoresheet.
“I think the team played very well,” Mourinho said. You score four goals and your striker doesn’t score a goal and I think Ibra played phenomenal. He was absolutely fantastic.
“He was key in our attacking football and the starting of our pressure.
“I’m happy when you do that in a positive way and I’m happy to say that my team played well.”
Mourinho’s United reign began with a 2-1 win over Leicester in the Community Shield at Wembley and, after back-to-back Premier League losses against Manchester City and Watford, he was pleased to see a measure of that early optimism return among the Old Trafford faithful.
It is not easy against them and not easy to win in the style that we did,” he added.
“In the second half it was more about control – we wanted a little bit more – but Ranieri was very good to read his options and keep some balance. It was a choice of losing heavily or with some control over the scoreline.
“Today we had intensity movement and dynamism. To be back home and beat the champions is good. Last season we couldn’t beat them and this season we have beaten them twice already.”