Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal tersely refused to discuss Wayne Rooney’s form after his captain failed to score in the goalless derby draw with Premier League leaders Manchester City.
England’s all-time record goalscorer has struggled to reach top gear at club level this season – last weekend’s strike to round off the 3-0 win at Everton his second goal in the Premier League.
A day on from his 30th birthday at Old Trafford, Rooney rarely threatened to add to his tally as he was shackled by a well-stocked City defence and fellow forward Anthony Martial carried the hosts’ main threat.
Nevertheless, Van Gaal was nonplussed when Rooney was brought on to the agenda towards the end of his post-match media conference.
“I have to talk every week about Rooney, why?” he said.
When the journalist who asked the question responded that the reason for his enquiry was Rooney’s status as a “top player”, the Dutchman remained unimpressed.
“You have to write it down – it’s your opinion,” he added.
“No, I don’t give any answer any more about Wayne Rooney because I’m sick of it.”
Van Gaal will assess the fitness of Antonio Valencia ahead of Wednesday night’s League Cup clash with Middlesbrough after the full-back departed during the closing stages of the derby with a foot problem.
“He had a kick on his foot in the first half and then I let [Matteo] Darmian warm up on the touchline,” the United manager told MUTV.
“But then he played further. However, at the end, he could not continue.”