Contrasting blame-game as Rooney holds hands up and van Persie points finger

Rooney V Cardiff

The Manchester United strikers appear to be focusing on different reasons for the club's poor form.

It is fair to say Manchester United’s season is not going according to plan and, in some ways, their performance against Olympiakos in the Champions League last-16 tie was as bad it has been so far.

Of the starting XI, only Nemanja Vidic and David de Gea performed anywhere near their potential, the remaining nine players struggling to find any rhythm or influence in the game.

United are 2-0 down going into the second-leg, but the game would have been reflected on very differently had Robin van Persie finished a relatively easy chance (certainly by his standards) in the second half.

Instead he blazed over the bar, leaving his side without a precious away-goal that would have seen a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford enough to send David Moyes’ side through.

Speaking after the match, the Dutchman said, “It was quite difficult because my teammates were often in the area I want to play.

That’s why I have to change my tactics. Unfortunately, they are often in my area.”

No mention of the glaring miss, then? Even if it was on his weaker foot it is a chance he should have buried.

Now contrast that to Wayne Rooney’s appraisal of United’s recent form.

As a group of players we have to take responsibility for our league form,” he is quoted as saying in the build-up to Tuesday’s match.

We know we’re better than that and we haven’t performed as well as we can do.”

Rooney certainly did not perform well in Greece, but at least he had already acknowledged that it was the players’ job to turn their season around.

Van Persie, on the other hand, appeared to focus on the problems caused by those same teammates, and not on his lack of a goal-scoring contribution in a match where a single strike would have changed everything.

image: © joncandy

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch