Wayne Rooney’s best day at Manchester United will not come until he becomes the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
The 31-year-old opened the scoring in Saturday’s 4-0 FA Cup win over Reading to move level with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals for the 20-time English champions.
Rooney said he felt “hugely honoured” to equal Charlton’s tally while the former midfielder watched on from the stands at Old Trafford, though he stressed he is eager to claim the outright record in one of United’s two home games against Hull City and Liverpool next week.
And Mourinho is looking forward to what he thinks will be the pinnacle of Rooney’s 12-and-a-half-year career at the club.
“I think the best day will arrive,” he told a media conference. “This is not the best day for him. It will arrive, it’s just a question of when.
“It’s amazing because everyone knows what Sir Bobby is, and for Wayne to score the same number of goals is amazing.
“The best day is the day he scores the next goal. The next goal makes him the best scorer in the history of Manchester United.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 7, 2017
Anthony Martial and a double from Marcus Rashford secured an eighth win in a row for United to move them into the fourth round at the expense of Jaap Stam’s side.
Rashford spurned three good chances in the first half before scoring twice in quick succession in the closing stages and Mourinho revealed that he told him to put those misses behind him at the break.
“I spoke to him at half-time and I told him to forget the chances because his movement was very good,” he said. “He is very fast and we know how to change from Marcus with Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], they are different players.
“[Martial] played very well against Middlesbrough, but he and myself felt 48 hours later against West Ham that it was better not to start. Playing against a good right back in [Chris] Gunter he did well.”
Stam believes his side can learn a lot from their defeat during what proved to be an unhappy return to Old Trafford.
“It is certainly a lesson for my team,” he told BT Sport. “You have got to start aggressively against a team like this, otherwise they will make you pay.
“We started better in the second half, possession-wise, but we do not create many chances. But credit to the opposition, they have a lot of quality, skill and speed up front. You learn something from the movement of their players.
“It could have been a little bit of stage fright. But we are all humans, we all have feelings, you cannot programme them like computers.”
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