Jose Mourinho defends Alex Ferguson's decision to axe Wayne Rooney

England striker was relegated to bench for visit of Real Madrid

Jose Mourinho has defended Sir Alex Ferguson's right to axe Wayne Rooney from last night's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

Rooney was left kicking his heels on the bench for the first 70 minutes of the 2-1 reverse and was only introduced once the Red Devils had fallen behind.

The Manchester United striker went on the blaze over from close range in the latter stages as his side fought furiously to save their European skins.

With Ferguson opting not to attend the post-match press conference and the aftermath of the tie dominated by Cuneyt Cakir's controversial decision to dismiss Nani, forensic discussion of Rooney's omission will have to wait until nearer the weekend, when the United boss is next due to address the media.

However, to Mourinho's mind, given Ferguson is in line to win a 13th Premier League title this season, to add to his two Champions League trophies and other silverware, there should be no questions at all.

"Sir Alex has won the right for every decision to be correct and never have a question mark against them," said Mourinho.

"He is the best. He is the top.

"You (reporter) are nobody to put a question like that. I am nobody.

"He did a great job."

It is hard to argue Ferguson got the call right given the two men who profited most from Rooney's omission, Ryan Giggs and Danny Welbeck, were two of United's better performers.

Nevertheless, there is now bound to be speculation over the England man's future.

The last time Real Madrid came to Old Trafford, Ferguson left out David Beckham.

And though - like Rooney - the midfielder was eventually introduced, he left United that summer.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was also ushered out after being omitted for a big game and former skipper Roy Keane - booted out mid-season in even more brutal fashion - is amongst those who feel the writing is now on the wall.

Rooney has already been linked with Paris St Germain recently, and came close to joining Manchester City when he slapped in his transfer request two seasons ago.

The next move is awaited with interest, particularly as United now have a tough FA Cup quarter-final to prepare for against Chelsea on Sunday.

"The decision was tactical," said United assistant-boss Mike Phelan.

"In that dressing room, everyone was fit.

"But big decisions have to be made. Tonight we had the balance just right."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future