Mourinho Urges Man United Fans to Show Appreciation for Returning Rooney
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has expressed hope that Wayne Rooney will be given a warm reception on his first return to Old Trafford since leaving the club in the summer, with Everton the visitors as domestic football returns to the schedule on Sunday.
Rooney spent 13 years with United, becoming the club's all-time record goalscorer in January of this year he netted his 250th in United colours.
"I think clearly he is one of the most important players in the history of Manchester United," Mourinho commented as he spoke with the press on Friday afternoon.
"I hope the stadium will show him the respect he deserves before and after the match, not during the match," the United boss added.
Another player facing his former club on Sunday will be Romelu Lukaku following his £75m departure from the Toffees to link up with Mourinho for the second time in his career.
The Belgian front-man has enjoyed a fine start to life in red, with his debut Champions League goal on Tuesday the sixth he's scored for the club so far.
"He's a good age, a good number of years of experience in different clubs in the Premier League," Mourinho said of the powerful Belgian.
"Clearly he's a player that's adapted to the Premier League, with good friends already in this dressing room and he's integrated into our group."
One of those 'good friends' is Paul Pogba, a likely absence for the next four to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury during the first half against Basel. He will be a 'miss', Mourinho said, but the coach has faith in the rest of the squad to step up.
"We miss Pogba, we need Pogba, but we have good players - Herrera, Fellaini, Carrick - who are waiting," the manager explained. "They're waiting for a real chance to start matches and to play from the beginning. They are ready - this is also our way of thinking."
As for the rest of United's treatment room, Luke Shaw has recovered from his latest injury, while Marcos Rojo will still need another couple of months before he's up to full speed.
"Shaw is not injured anymore, so it's a question of form, it's a question of option but he's recovered. Rojo is still in the timings after such an important injury, everything went really well but he's not even training with the group in normal sessions, he's just doing parts of it."