Manchester United: Why Jose Mourinho May Leave Wayne Rooney Out Again For Europa League

Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney with team-mate Michael Carrick, left, at Old Trafford, Manchester, September 24. Rooney's confidence is being eroded by the media, his manager Jose Mourinho claims. Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty

Jose Mourinho has warned that Wayne Rooney "cannot afford" to underperform against Zorya Luhansk in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.

Rooney, the Manchester United club captain, was dropped for the 4-1 victory over Leicester City on Saturday but will be given another chance to prove himself as Mourinho seeks the club's first victory in this year's competition, following the opening night loss to Feyenoord in Rotterdam.

Mourinho said that Rooney, who has been dealing with a back injury in training, needs a good performance but appeared to blame the pressure on his captain on media scrutiny.

"Rooney is selected. He didn't train on Tuesday. He did a little bit of a session on Monday. He had a back problem. Wednesday was the first time he had a training session with the other players.

"The training session's intensity and complexity was reduced because we have a game.

"I was completely convinced from playing him tomorrow from the beginning with his situation in the last couple of games, but I'm not sure I will do that because of the situation you create for him.

"I think he really can't afford to have a performance that is not really good."

United has got back on track following the worst week of Mourinho's reign so far, which included two Premier League defeats to Manchester City and Watford either side of the Feyenoord loss.