Jose Mourinho has admitted that Wayne Rooney has been “hurt” to the maximum and needs to recover, but added that he is not to blame for confusing the player about his position.
Rooney has been playing in an attacking role for Manchester United this season, which manager Mourinho feels he is better suited to. But the forward had been used in midfield by former manager Louis van Gaal and also on England duty.
Mourinho said, however, that Rooney remains capable of playing anywhere. The Portuguese is preparing United to face Liverpool away on Monday — and Rooney scored the only goal in the corresponding fixture in January last season.
Mourinho told reporters: “I think what you could hurt, you did already. I don’t think you can do more. So I think, in this moment, it is time for him to recover from what was done to him and the best place for him to do that is feeling like he feels at home here.
“I’m not saying that he is low. You can hurt me but you can’t put me down — I think he’s the same.
“If somebody confused him, it was not me. But he can play everywhere, no problem.”
Rooney had started the season as a regular starter for United but has been a substitute and come off the bench in the last three matches in all competitions.
He was also dropped to the bench by England for their most recent match against Slovenia during the international break.