Jose Mourinho admitted Wayne Rooney is “hurt” by his fall from grace – but is ready to bench him for a fourth game in a row.
Rooney has lost his place for club and country and is set to be a substitute again at Anfield on Monday night for United’s Premier League trip to arch rivals Liverpool.
His only United start in the last four weeks was against League One Northampton in the League Cup.
Mourinho claimed Rooney could not be hurt any more than he has been, but said the 30-year-old’s reputation counts for nothing when it comes to picking his United team for tonight’s clash.
“I think what you could hurt you did already,” said Mourinho. “I don’t think you can do more than what you did.
“So I think in this moment it’s 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.
“You can hurt me but you can’t put me down. I think he’s the same.”
Rooney scored United’s winner in a 1-0 win at Anfied in the Premier League last season, but Mourinho said the striker’s past exploits mean nothing and defended his decision to drop him.
“That’s my job,” said Mourinho. “That’s a choice. I have 24 players.
“The records are not important for me. A match is an isolated event. There’s no relation to what you did in the past, no relation to what you do in the future.
“That’s why I don’t like much the statistics of previous matches and previous results and this kind of thing.”
The United boss also hit back at claims from Old Trafford legend Ryan Giggs, who suggested Rooney had been “confused” by Mourinho about where to play.
“If somebody confused him, it wasn’t me,” said Mourinho. “He can play everywhere. That’s no problem.”
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