Sunday 17 December 2017

Roo's trying too hard: LVG

Manchester United

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney and his fellow players may be trying too hard to score goals, according to his Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.

United have scored the lowest number of goals among the top six clubs in the Premier League this season, with England captain Rooney scoring just two.

Van Gaal suggested it might be a mental block affecting Rooney and the other United players rather than a lack of chances - and used the example of Mario Gomez during his time at Bayern Munich, who scored around a goal a game despite only having nine to 14 touches in a match.

Rooney had around 50 touches of the ball last weekend against Manchester City - his average number this term.

Van Gaal 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 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."

However, Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew fears Rooney's current frustration makes him "dangerous".

The Eagles host Manchester United today with Rooney's performances coming under increasing scrutiny.

The England captain has scored just two Premier League goals this season and missed a penalty as United crashed out of the League Cup at home to Middlesbrough in midweek.

But Pardew expects Rooney to answer his critics and says Palace will have to be on their guard.

"I think Wayne, throughout most of his career, has been at the top of the pitch or just back one in the number 10 role," said Pardew.

"He plays both roles very well. He is at the top of the pitch now and maybe he is not getting the service he would probably want in that.

"I can see a little bit of frustration in him but that makes him dangerous. Rooney has proved many times, particularly when he gets criticism, that he can deliver.

"We'll be on our guard for Wayne. He's an outstanding player, he's the England captain and we'll give him the respect he deserves."

Palace have lost their last three matches with the 5-1 reverse at City coming on the back of league defeats to West Ham and Leicester.

Injuries have hit them hard, but Pardew hopes to have the likes of Joel Ward, Connor Wickham and Marouanne Chamakh back to full fitness again after the international break.

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