MANCHESTER — Chelsea manager José Mourinho is tired of waiting around for Wayne Rooney to make his mind up.
And following the dazzling display from Manchester United’s striker against Mourinho’s Chelsea team during Monday’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, Mourinho is pleading with the player to make a decision on his future.
“The person that started the story has to finish the story,” Mourinho said after being asked whether or not Rooney would ask to leave United. Mourinho also wants a clear statement of intent from Rooney.
“A club like us, a manager like me, we are not silly to try and get a player from a big club that doesn’t want to sell, we are not silly to try and start something if somebody didn’t start it. I think it’s time for the good of everyone to finish the story. From one side, or from the other side.”
While Mourinho also gave Rooney a time-frame to make his mind up on a move to Stamford Bridge, stating it needs to happen in the next “24 hours, 48 hours” or the deal will be off and the long-winded chase for the 27-year-old England international will end without the desired conclusion. That’s when Mourinho issued the final warning to Rooney as Chelsea reportedly line up Samuel Eto’o as plan B.
“We are going to close another player,” Mourinho said. “If he’s [Rooney] not coming we are going to closer another player.”
But above all the speculation before las night’s massive, Rooney put in a great display and came closest to scoring when his blistering 77th minute shot in front of the Stretford End was well saved by Per Cech to his right. Rooney was a menace, constantly wriggling free of Chelsea’s defense and trying to delicately set up his teammates. He worked hard, chased back and dug deep to help United seal a point.
Mourinho is certainly a fan.
“I think the most important thing is that he [Rooney] played very well,” Mourinho said. “He was a real professional. He played for the club that pays him, tried to win, tried to score. He was fantastic. After that, if he wants to leave he has to say, or he decides now that he doesn’t want to leave anymore, it’s a problem.”
But with all this speculation, all this talk swirling around Rooney’s head, the fact that he managed to put in a man of the match performance against the team that has openly been chasing him all summer, in front of the home fans who know he wants to leave, it was quite sublime. Again, Mourinho was impressed.
“No. But independent of every think we have to say fantastic, because many players in this situation they can’t express themselves on the pitch. They don’t feel enough confidence. He was fantastic, he played very, very well.”
Throughout the 90 minutes at Old Trafford Rooney was cheered by both sets of supports, as Chelsea’s traveling fans chanted, “Wayne Rooney, we’ll see you next week” to try and get under the skin of the United faithful. But it had the opposite effect. A real buzz was generated inside the stadium whenever Rooney got on the ball and on several occasions the home fans showed their adulation to Rooney, something Mourinho appreciated.
“In other countries it wouldn’t be possible, probably in other clubs it wouldn’t be possible. In other countries, if people know you want to leave it doesn’t matter the player you are they don’t want you. But they gave him a fantastic support, it was very good, very nice, very English.”
Maybe the cheers from United fans will have helped Wayne Rooney to make his mind to remain at Old Trafford.
José Mourinho has laid down the gauntlet. Rooney has 24-48 hours to decide his future.