Wayne Rooney insists Memphis Depay should not be blamed for the late Diego Costa goal which denied Manchester United a win at Chelsea.
The Netherlands international – a late substitute at Stamford Bridge – misplaced a simple pass to Morgan Schneiderlin on a United break which allowed the home side to push forward and snatch the equaliser in Sunday’s 1-1 draw.
The incident drew scathing criticism from some fans and compounded what has been a miserable few months for Depay, in which he has lost his place in Louis van Gaal’s side following some disappointing performances.
But Rooney refused to lay the blame squarely at the 21-year-old’s feet, saying: “I think we’re all disappointed.
“Memphis is a fantastic player and that happens, we all give bad passes away. A lot of things happened from when you give the ball away to when they’ve scored the goal, so I don’t think we can stand here and blame Memphis.
“I think there were other things which happened and why they’ve scored.”
Jesse Lingard had given United the lead with a smart turn and finish just past the hour mark but the visitors failed to hold off the heavy Chelsea pressure in the closing stages, despite dominating parts of the game.
Van Gaal criticised his players for failing to keep their composure in defence late on and Rooney conceded they invited too much pressure onto themselves after the opening goal.
“The game was broken up a bit, we gave too many free-kicks away and then we couldn’t get up the pitch,” he said.
“But with Chelsea, at times it’s difficult, because they pushed players up front and they didn’t really play with any system, so it’s difficult to work out how to defend against them.
“It’s a disappointing result in the end. I thought it was a good performance, I thought we played some nice stuff, it feels like a defeat in the end.
“We’ve performed well and played some good stuff again but, overall, it’s at this stage of the season that results matter and we’ve dropped two points.”
United could have lost in the dying seconds but for a fine David de Gea save to deny Costa, and Rooney hailed the performance of the Spain international goalkeeper after he earlier thwarted Cesc Fabregas and Branislav Ivanovic.
“David again made some incredible saves,” Rooney added.
“I’ve said before he’s probably the best goalkeeper in the world the last few seasons and again he’s made some important saves today to keep it at 1-0, but unfortunately the goal at the end has got them a draw.”