Mourinho defends embattled Rooney

Wayne Rooney has his critics, but Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is not one of them.

Jose Mourinho has attempted to deflect criticism away from captain Wayne Rooney by insisting Manchester United win or lose as a team.

Rooney has been widely criticised for his recent displays as United lost three successive games before a 3-1 EFL Cup victory at Northampton Town in midweek.

England forward Rooney defended himself on Thursday, describing the sniping as "rubbish" in an interview with MUTV, and Mourinho was also quick to back the 30-year-old in his news conference ahead of Saturday's clash with champions Leicester City.

The Portuguese said: "Wayne Rooney's form is like Man United form. 

"We are a team. We are not Wayne Rooney and we all started well, we all won four matches and we all lost three matches in a week, so that's not Wayne Rooney and to be honest he didn't play against Feyenoord, so he was not directly involved in that match.

"Everybody is involved in every match, even the ones who are not playing."

The visit of Claudio Ranieri's Leicester to Old Trafford is another test of United's title ambitions, although Mourinho insists it carries no greater significance than any other fixture.

"It's always important," he added. "The first game is the same as the one that mathematically decides everything.

"I always said since day one that my title ambitions were also a motivational factor and a way of living.

"I don't understand being at this club and giving a different message, but I knew and I admit immediately, it was a very risky approach.

"If you remember my words, I said something like I am not playing defensively with my words because I know that is difficult."