Louis van Gaal has praised Wayne Rooney and other Manchester United players for conducting a half-time team talk against Liverpool.
Liverpool were arguably the better side when the two met at Anfield last Sunday, but Van Gaal’s side held on to head into half-time at 0-0.
Rooney scored the winner ten minutes from time to lift United into fifth in the Premier League table, just two points behind fourth-placed Spurs, and a further five off the pace of leaders Arsenal.
Midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin revealed that Rooney had held part of the team talk at half-time, and Van Gaal praised his captain on Friday.
“Not only Wayne Rooney is doing that, but there are several players doing that,” the Dutchman said. “That is what I want because the players are responsible and not only the manager. This is why I have made this approach to the players. Responsibility for the result and commitment for the result is very important and they are showing that.”
Van Gaal continued, in his praise of Rooney: “I’ve always said he’s important, not only as a player but as a captain, so I’m very happy with him. It is a fact that since Rooney is scoring we have won our games, or at least we draw against Newcastle United away. There is a parallel and I have said that always that he is not only important as a player but as a captain, so I am very happy with him.”
Van Gaal was then asked whether his side was feeling the pressure, with their unbeaten record remaining intact this calendar year heading into the game against Southampton on Saturday.
“For me that is not interesting. It is for the players,” he said. “They play the game. The pressure is a little bit gone. But it is returning when we lose. We have to win. Our fans expect us to win, especially at home.”