Jose Mourinho hopes Wayne Rooney’s consolation strike against Fenerbahce can boost both his captain’s confident and Manchester United’s flailing form in front of goal.
Rooney’s excellent long-range effort could not prevent a 2-1 Europa League loss on Thursday after last weekend’s goalless draw at home to Burnley left United languishing eighth in the Premier League.
A trip to second-bottom Swansea is up next for Mourinho’s men, with the manager conceding his forward players are lacking sharpness.
“Sometimes a team doesn’t score enough because of its philosophy, because it is not aggressive enough and doesn’t risk enough. That’s not our case at all,” the former Chelsea boss told reporters.
“It is also easy to see that some players in attacking areas are lacking confidence. They are not sharp, they are not getting the chances they can.
“Probably one of the only good things [against Fenerbache] was the fact that Rooney finally scored a goal. Maybe it is also a key point in terms of his self-confidence.”
Rooney scored for the first time in 12 appearances for United having lost his status as a first-choice pick earlier in the campaign, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is experiencing a similar slump – his last league goal coming in the 2-1 Premier League defeat to Manchester City in September.
Mourinho accepts the Midas touch has deserted the former Paris Saint-Germain star over recent weeks but spoken in glowing terms regarding his overall contribution.
“He is playing well for the team, he is creating a lot of chances, he is missing a lot of goals,” he added. “If I remember Stoke, Liverpool, Chelsea, Burnley… he missed a lot of goals but he was fantastic.
“In his dynamic, in his working, in his building up for the team he was fantastic.
“[Against Fenerbahce] I cannot say the same but every match in the Premier League, even when not scoring goals, he has been fantastic.
“His attitude is always brilliant. He is not a guy afraid of his responsibilities, so no problem at all.”