Manchester United's Jose Mourinho defends decision to stick with Rooney

Jose Mourinho has defended his decision to keep faith with Wayne Rooney during Manchester United's 1-0 win at Hull City.

United manager Mourinho started with Rooney in the No. 10 role in a 4-2-3-1 formation but eventually switched the player to left midfield and did not substitute him until deep into stoppage time after Marcus Rashford's 92nd-minute winner.

Mourinho had earlier brought on substitutes Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Rashford as United struggled to break down Hull, but did not sacrifice the England captain.

At the end of the game, Rooney was playing left midfield in a 4-4-2 and it was from that position that he supplied the assist for Rashford's goal. In that set up, Mkhitaryan was playing on the right of midfield, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rashford were the two strikers.

Discussing why he kept Rooney on and did not take him off, Mourinho said: "I can take him out. No problem for me to take him out. No problem for him to be out. But I was just reading the game and feeling that, playing with two strikers Marcus and Zlatan, I needed Mkhitaryan and Rooney just inside because the full-backs [Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw] were the ones that were playing really wide on the line.

"At that moment, I didn't need wingers because the wingers were Valencia and Luke Shaw. Instead of wingers, I needed people to play inside. I know that he [Rooney] is a guy with a vision for an assist with a feeling for the goal and that he could be perfectly important like he was."

Mourinho added that Rooney's display at Hull was similar to the overall performance of the team as a whole, as they struggled to make progress before half-time but improved in the second half.

The United manager said: "He was like the team. In the first half, he was OK. But the team was a little bit slow in the transitions. The team was not playing with that intensity that we need and he was part of it. In the second half, when the team brought a different gear, he did the same.

"When I put him playing from the outside, with the two strikers playing in the middle, him and Mkhitaryan developed a lot of our attacking waves. So I'm very happy with him."