China Daily

Rooney record can’t mask Mourinho’s concern

- By AGENCE FRANCEPRES­SE in Stoke-on-Trent, England

Jose Mourinho wants record-breaker Wayne Rooney to help Manchester United solve a familiar problem after it again failed to turn its dominance into three points in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday.

Juan Mata’s own-goal gave Stoke a 19th-minute lead at Britannia Stadium before Rooney rescued a point for the visitor deep into stoppageti­me, becoming United’s alltime leading scorer with his 250th goal for the English giant as he broke Bobby Charlton’s longstandi­ng club record.

While quick to acclaim Rooney’s “amazing achievemen­t”, Mourinho cut a frustrated figure once again as he reflected on two more Premier League points lost and the fact that any chance of United mounting a belated title challenge is receding fast.

Rooney’s well-struck freekick was small consolatio­n for a performanc­e in which United failed to make the most of the chances it created after Mata’s own-goal.

“It’s an amazing achievemen­t, but the record is broken and now just let him (Rooney) be a normal player again and try to score more goals for us,” said Mourinho.

“It was a great goal, and on a team where you see incredible goals week after week, to get a phenomenal goal like he did is even more astonishin­g.

“Obviously in the Premier League, we have drawn too many matches, and today you saw why that is happening.

“The opposition scored without creating one single chance, and for us to score a goal we have to create six, seven chances, so it’s hard.”

United could find itself 14 points behind Chelsea if the Premier League leader wins at home to Hull on Sunday, and Mourinho would dearly love an end to his side’s scoring drought.

“Sometimes I’m on the bench and I’m tired of seeing my team play so well, create so many chances and it’s always dramatic to score a goal,” he said.

“I think for a long, long time that one day we will score every chance. Somebody will go home with six or seven in the basket.

“In spite of keeping a phenomenal unbeaten streak going, showing an amazing character by the team, showing an amazing empathy between the team and the fans, it is not a good result.

“In the end, I think we lost two points.”

Mourinho, however, praised Stoke’s resilience by saying: “It was a very difficult match, I have to say that Stoke started strong and after they defended with absolutely everything, with grit, emotion and aggression, but good aggression, nothing negative.

“They did everything defend their goal.”

Meanwhile, Stoke manager to Mark Hughes, himself a former United striker, paid tribute to Rooney.

“It’s unbelievab­le,” said the Welshman.

“Sir Bobby’s record stood for over 40 years and a lot of very good strikers have come and gone in that time and not got near the record.

“For Wayne to do it, we clearly didn’t want it to happen today, but with top, top players, you only have to give them one opportunit­y to produce a ball that’s right on the money.

“A little bit of magic from him got them something out of the game.”

Yet for all his disappoint­ment at the draw, Hughes was proud of mid-table Stoke’s performanc­es against United this season.

“When you concede so late in the game, it feels like a defeat,” he said.

“When we wake up in the morning though, we’ll realize we’ve had two games against United home and away and we haven’t been beaten, so we can take a lot of credit from that.”

 ?? DARREN STAPLES / REUTERS ?? Wayne Rooney celebrates becoming Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer with his goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City.
DARREN STAPLES / REUTERS Wayne Rooney celebrates becoming Manchester United’s all-time leading scorer with his goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City.

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