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Published: 08:33 | 16/2/16

Rooney: Players must take responsibility

Striker admits the players are to blame

Wayne Rooney admits the Manchester United players deserve as much criticism as manager Louis van Gaal.

Having come in for some stinging criticism over the course of the season, the Dutchman's future at Old Trafford has once again been called into question following the club's 2-1 defeat to Sunderland on Saturday.

United are currently fifth in the Premier League table, six points adrift of the top four with 12 points remaining, and Rooney believes the players must shoulder some of the blame for their inconsistent performances which has left them facing a battle to secure automatic qualification to the Champions League.

"At times it's been frustrating for us as we have under-performed," Rooney said. "The manager has taken a lot of stick for some performances. It's down to us, we're players and we have to perform.

"In terms of that we have probably got off quite lightly and the manager has taken a lot of it.

"But we are going out on the pitch. We have to create chances and win games, and we haven't done that enough this season."

Speaking after the defeat to Sunderland, Van Gaal admitted United's best route of returning to the Champions League was by winning the Europa League.

Their Europa League campaign begins on Thursday against Danish side FC Midtjylland before they face Shrewsbury for a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals and Rooney admits they need to win a trophy to salvage something from the season.

"The important thing now, I feel, is to win trophies again this season. This is more or less a new team so for ourselves, as a team, we need to win something," he stated.

"Obviously the Champions League is massive for this club and it was disappointing to go out of it. We'll keep going in the league, keep trying. But our main aim has to be to make sure we can get in that top four.

"And then the Europa League, it would be great if we can win that. It's not where we wanted to be at the start of the season. But it's where we've found ourselves so why not go and try to win it."

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