Manchester United skipper Wayne Rooney has defended Memphis Depay after the Dutchman came under a lot of criticism for his role in Diego Costa's goal, which handed Chelsea a point during their clash at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (7 February). The Red Devils were on course for three points before the Blues striker scored the goal with under three minutes to go in injury time.
The former PSV Eindhoven attacker was a second-half substitute for Jesse Lingard, who had given the Red Devils the lead with a spectacular strike on the hour mark, but the Netherlands international, who was playing on the right wing, misplaced a simple pass to Morgan Schneiderlin, which instigated the move that led to the reigning Premier League champions levelling the scores. The loss of two points had more of an effect on United, who are chasing a place in the top four, and instead of closing the gap to neighbours Manchester City in fourth to four points, it was extended to six points, which left the manager and the players frustrated.
Depay's disappointing performances in recent months has seen him drop to the U21 side, when he started and starred in United U21's 7-0 win over the Norwich City reserves on Monday (8 February). The Old Trafford club's skipper, however, has defended the winger, and has called for a stop on the finger pointing that has been going on since the event occurred on Sunday. He believes that there were other factors that led to the goal including the entire team inviting too much pressure on themselves after taking the lead.
"I think we're all disappointed. Memphis is a fantastic player and that happens, we all give bad passes away. A lot of things happened from when you give the ball away to when they've scored the goal, so I don't think we can stand here and blame Memphis. I think there were other things which happened and why they've scored," Rooney said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"We did [invite pressure]. The game was broken up a bit, we gave too many free-kicks away and then we couldn't get up the pitch. But with Chelsea, at times it's difficult, because they pushed players up front and they didn't really play with any system, so it's difficult to work out how to defend against them," the England international added.