Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on January 12, 2016.  AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 75 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.
Manchester United's English striker Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on January 12, 2016. AFP PHOTO / OLI SCARFF RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 75 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS.

Manchester : English football giants Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney insists that it is the players who should be blamed for the club’s nightmare season and not manager Louis van Gaal.

The Dutchman has been widely criticised for the club’s fortunes this season after United failed to make it out of their Champions League group and fell behind in the race for the top four in the English Premier League.

Six points separate fifth-placed United from local rivals Manchester City in the final Champions League place – a gap that would have been just three had United managed to beat relegation-threatened Sunderland on Saturday rather than suffering a 2-1 defeat.

But Rooney believes the players have simply under performed.

“It’s a very good group of players. At times it’s been frustrating for us as we’ve under-performed. And actually the manager has taken a lot of stick for some performances. It’s down to us, we’re players and we have to perform,” Rooney was quoted as saying by goal.com.

“At times this season we haven’t done that. In terms of that, we’ve probably got off quite lightly and the manager has taken a lot of it. But we’re going on the pitch. We have to create chances and win games and we haven’t done that enough this season,” the England national team skipper said.

Despite the club’s struggles, Rooney believes United should focus on winning silverware this season, with the club still alive in the FA Cup and Europa League.

“The important thing now, I feel, is to win trophies again this season. It’s been a few years since we won a trophy. This is more or less a new team so for ourselves, as a team, we need to win something. The fans want to see us win something again,” he said.

“Obviously the Champions League is massive for this club and it was disappointing to go out of it. We’ll keep going in the league, keep trying. But our main aim has to be to make sure we can get in that top four,” Rooney said.

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