Manchester United hero Wayne Rooney believes the Red Devils players let their former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer go before the Norwegian got his marching orders. Solskjaer left Old Trafford on Sunday morning after a dismal run of results.
Less than 24 hours before Solskjaer was knocked out, United were knocked out 4-1 by Watford in the Premier League.
That result followed defeats to Aston Villa, Leicester City, Liverpool and Manchester City and club chiefs felt a change was finally needed at the top.
United were second best in their encounter at Vicarage Road and lacked the desire to turn the game upside down after falling behind.
And Rooney was not happy with what he saw of the Red Devils players.
“Could the players have done more? One hundred percent,” the Derby County manager hissed.
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“I was so disappointed watching that game at Watford. As a manager you know you can set up, prepare, shape the team – but there is no excuse for some achievements. Not at all.
“I’ve seen players wave their arms around, give the ball away and blame other people. It’s not acceptable. I’d be very angry if my players did that.
“If you look at a club like Manchester United, it’s one of, if not the, biggest club.
“These players are in a privileged position to play for them. With the players they have, they have to show more.
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“I’m not saying they should win the league or the Champions League – they just need to do more, show the fans that they work and play for the club.
“That’s the least you expect as a fan. Results may vary, but you should at least be willing to put in the effort.
“I remember Sir Alex Ferguson saying to me, ‘The hardest thing in life is to work hard every day.’ Whatever you do, it’s so true.”
United are now eighth in the Premier League table after being leapfrogged by Wolves and Tottenham.
And they will face an uphill task to secure a place in the top four after falling six points behind West Ham, who are currently in the final Champions League position.
The 13-time Premier League champions have appointed former midfielder Michael Carrick as their temporary boss but are looking for an interim manager to oversee the team until the end of the season.
Mauricio Pochettino is currently the favorite to succeed Solskjaer, and Brendan Rodgers, Zinedine Zidane and Erik ten Hag would also be in the running to take the top job.