Louis van Gaal believes Wayne Rooney’s lack of goals can be put down to the Manchester United captain being too involved in games.
Rooney has found the net just twice in the Premier League this term and has seen his form deteriorate badly in recent weeks.
The England skipper drew another blank in midweek as United suffered League Cup elimination to Middlesbrough after a penalty shoot-out which saw Rooney’s effort saved by Boro goalkeeper Tomas Mejias.
Several onlookers, notably including Barcelona legend Xavi have suggested Rooney could turn his form around by taking up a role deeper in midfield, but Van Gaal has other ideas.
The Dutchman said: “Players are human beings and they want to score goals but maybe they want it too much and maybe then the choices are not always good.
“Maybe he [Rooney] is doing too much, because you never know as a player how you can improve your shape or your finishing. It can also [create] a lot of doubt and I try to influence that.
“But it can be too hard and then your mental state shall be a little bit less and that has an influence on everything and that’s the most difficult thing as a manager and player to cope with.
“When I was manager of Bayern Munich, the striker was [Mario] Gomez and he touched the ball nine times on an average in a game – the highest 14 touches – but he scored every game.
“I don’t think our strikers touch less the ball. It’s how the balls are coming to him, how he decides, how quick he is in dealing with the situation.”