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Wayne Rooney defends Jose Mourinho

Leicester City v Manchester United - The FA Community Shield

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 07: Wayne Rooney of Manchester United shakes hands with Manager of Manchester United, Jose Mourinho during The FA Community Shield match between Leicester City and Manchester United at Wembley Stadium on August 7, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

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Wayne Rooney is out of the Manchester United bubble and the Red Devils’ all-time leading goalscorer has put the blame on his former teammates for their poor start to the season.

[ MORE: Mourinho to be banned? ]

With much of the blame heaped on Jose Mourinho’s shoulders so far, Rooney believes the players should be under greater scrutiny after United’s worst-ever start to a Premier League season.

The current D.C. United didn’t hold back when asked by The Telegraph about the current issues at Old Trafford.

“It’s tough [at United], it has been a tough situation,” Rooney said “The players, the manager, it has been a tough start to the season. I know Jose is getting a load of stick but I said a few weeks ago, the players have to stand up. They have to be counted and they have to be better. The manager can do so much but then it is down to the players on the pitch to produce and probably collectively. It [the poor run of form] is a bit of everything coming together but Jose is an easy target. Some of the players have to be better.”

And, of course, he is right. Rooney went on to claim he said the same thing behind closed doors when Louis van Gaal was in charge, as he didn’t feel the players performed to the best of their ability and LVG did all he could do.

Rooney standing up for Mourinho is a little unexpected given the fact that he became a bit-part player under the Portuguese coach at United in 2016-17 and eventually left for Everton, then spent one season at his boyhood club before moving to D.C. United. But when Rooney talks about United you have to listen. He knows the club, and this squad, better than most.

Mourinho hasn’t helped himself along the way with his public spats with star man Paul Pogba, calling out several experienced players in his squad and locking horns with the media whenever he can. But when all is said and done, Mourinho is only part of the problem at United. He’s not the whole problem.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and the board are coming under increasing scrutiny from fans and some players are also being singled out. The club needs unity and Mourinho can provide that, but it seems like the best way to turn things around quickly is to create a siege mentality and the famous “us versus them” feeling that Sir Alex Ferguson fostered for decades at United.

Mourinho is a master at doing that and although things have started poorly this season -- remember, he predicted that time and time again in preseason -- they are only five points off the top four with 30 games to go, while they also have more points in the UEFA Champions League group stage than their PL rivals.

Yes, there are serious issues to sort out at United but blaming Mourinho for 100 percent of them just isn’t fair. End of.

Follow @JPW_NBCSports