Four reasons why Mourinho right to drop Rooney after Man Utd’s rampant win over Leicester
Lee Gormley | September 24, 2016
Four Reasons why Mourinho right to drop Rooney
Manchester United had entered their latest Premier League outing against reigning champions Leicester City on the back of three defeats in four games across all competitions, but the dropping of Wayne Rooney saw the shackles come off as they ran riot.
Jose Mourinho made the big call to drop his club captain after a series of underwhelming performances, most notably the horror show in the loss to Watford, but his Red Devils produced a sublime showing to topple the Foxes 4-1 at Old Trafford.
Following the rampant result on home soil, Coral outline four reasons why Mourinho was right to drop Rooney for the eventual success over Claudio Ranieri’s champions…
Skipper not needed over dead-ball situations
Man Utd, whose odds to lift the Premier League title have been cut from 12/1 to 10/1, looked back to their free-flowing best as they simply demolished Leicester, with their slick attacks carving open the champions at ease in the first-half.
Stand-in skipper Chris Smalling opened the scoring with a towering header from a perfectly executed corner from the left foot of Dutchman Daley Blind. The Netherlands international was back at left back in place of Luke Shaw and picked out his fellow defender with a superb in-swinging set-piece.
Rooney has long been undertaking set-piece duties but, with Blind having starred from dead ball situations, there’s further evidence to support Mourinho’s decision to drop the England all-time marksman.
It was Blind’s delivery that also handed world-record signing Paul Pogba the chance to send a thumping header in and open his Man Utd account, while his set-piece pass to Juan Mata led to Marcus Rashford adding another goal.
Mata more than capable in number 10 role
David Moyes had signed Mata from Chelsea during his hapless reign, but the Spaniard hasn’t really been afforded the time in his favoured number 10 role under any manager. Mourinho may no longer be able to overlook him for that position.
The playmaker was sublime throughout his appearance at Old Trafford, brilliantly finishing off a well-rounded move in the first-half to get on the scoresheet himself and producing the decisive pass for Rashford to add to his ever-growing tally.
Mata was involved in the majority of the Red Devils’ attacks on home turf and his outstanding performance may see Rooney keep his place on the bench for upcoming clashes against Zorya in the Europa League and Stoke City domestically.
Counterattacking football made easier
With Mata supporting frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic through the middle, it gave young forwards Rashford and Jesse Lingard the opportunity to showcase their talents in the wide areas and utilise their pace.
This made for more natural counterattacks, with some of their bursts forward being a throwback to the United of old, when the club were one of the most feared on the break under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Rooney’s involvement in past games have seen him slow down the pace of proceedings, opting to take an extra few touches or seek out a long-range pass, rather than continue a quick-flowing surge towards goal. The win over Leicester highlighted perfectly which is the more effective for ‘the Special One’.
Players slotted into proper positions
Mourinho may have found his best and most encouraging team selection and set-up at the right time, with the Portuguese tactician soon having to prepare for successive fixtures against Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Chelsea and Manchester City.
With Rooney not in starting line-up, it allowed Mata to take up his natural position in the hole, as well as giving fellow Spaniard Ander Herrera the time to make an impact in centre midfield, with Pogba alongside him.
The set-up against Leicester also gave Ibrahimovic a better chance of prospering up top, with plenty of pace and much more creativity whizzing around him, and he was unlucky not to have added to his club tally with Ron-Robert Zieler producing a top save to deny him late on.
Superb showings from both Herrera and Pogba, as well as the composure of late substitute Michael Carrick, could also be a damaging blow to Rooney’s long-term future in midfield, with these players proving they are better suited than the England international in the central areas.
What do you make of our reasons why Mourinho right to drop Rooney? Do you think he should remain on the bench? Have your say below in our comments section!