Belfast Telegraph

Jose wants Roo to spark a goal rush

By Simon Peach

Jose Mourinho needs more goals from Wayne Rooney and the rest of his attackers if Manchester United's Premier League campaign is to be revived.

The positives of progress to the Europa League knockout stages and EFL Cup semi-finals have been tempered somewhat by their league frustrations.

Mourinho's men sit an eye-watering 13 points off the lead and nine behind the top four just 14 matches into the season. A lack of cutting edge has been key, managing just seven goals in eight league matches ahead of tomorrow's visit of Tottenham.

Mourinho has been pleased with his side's displays but is well aware of the missing ingredient, highlighted by Rooney managing a solitary Premier League goal so far this term.

"With me, he is an attacking player," the United boss said of his skipper. "In the national team, they can do with him what they want. In the national team he is their player, not my player."

Mourinho continued: "In my team, he is an attacking player - he will play as a nine or a 10, or coming from one of the sides.

"So as an attacking player, normally he scores more goals. He scored a couple at Fenerbahce and one in the Premier League.

"We expect more goals from him, yes, but we expect more goals from everyone in the team.

"Maybe Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) is the one but as the main striker it is normal that he has more.

"But all the other attacking players, we expect more goals."

Anthony Martial has managed just one league goal, while Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford's three-goal hauls make them the next top scorers behind Ibrahimovic.

The veteran Swede netted a seventh goal in six matches in all competitions as United reached the Europa League last 32 with a 2-0 win at Zorya Luhansk on Thursday.

Ibrahimovic wrapped up victory in a way the team have been unable to in the league - showing a clinical edge that will be key tomorrow against a Tottenham side boasting the league's tightest defence.

Eric Bailly's return to action after six weeks out with a knee injury is a timely boost ahead of the festive period, but Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling remain absent.

The latter duo won't be fit for tomorrow, with Mourinho hoping centre-back Smalling can return from his foot issue before Bailly heads off to the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast in January.

"(Bailly) is a big loss, so let's hope that Smalling can recover in time," he said. "With so many matches, we need players. I think (Smalling will be back by the) end of the year, by Christmas."

Belfast Telegraph


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