Manchester United News: Rooney Says Manager Van Gaal Takes Too Much Blame For Poor Season

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney in the FA Cup in January
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United at Pride Park Stadium, January 29. Rooney has called on United's players to do more to help manager Louis Van Gaal improve the club's performance. Clive Mason/Getty Images

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has called on the club's players to do more to help manager Louis Van Gaal.

United lost away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and is fifth in the English Premier League, six points behind rival Manchester City which occupies the final UEFA Champions League place.

That defeat led Van Gaal to describe United's prospects of making the Champions League as "very difficult," though Rooney believes not all blame should lie on the manager's shoulders.

"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 told the Daily Mirror on Monday.

"It's a very good group of players. At times it's been frustrating for us as we've under-performed.

"We've probably got off quite lightly and the manager has taken a lot of it."

United does have another plausible route back to the Champions League, with the winner of the Europa League earning a place in European football's premier club competition next season.

United faces FC Midtjylland of Denmark in the first leg of the last 32 on Thursday.