The Red Devils boss paid tribute to his captain after he became the club’s record goalscorer on Saturday, in the club’s 1-1 draw with Stoke.
Jose Mourinho described Wayne Rooney as “a legend of Manchester United” after his last-gasp equaliser against Stoke City saw him break the club’s goalscoring record.
The 31-year-old swept in a brilliant free-kick with seconds remaining at the bet365 Stadium to move onto 250 goals in 546 appearances – one more than former record-holder Bobby Charlton.
And Mourinho praised his captain for claiming a place in the history of both the club and the global game.
“The record is the record,” he told Sky Sports after the 1-1 draw. “It is the record of the biggest club in England and one of the biggest in the world. “Before him the record belonged to a legend of English football. Now Wayne becomes a legend of Manchester United.”
Stoke boss Mark Hughes, twice a Premier League-winner in a distinguished United playing career, believes Rooney can now set a record that will never be broken.
“It is an outstanding record and won’t be surpassed,” he told BBC Sport. “It has taken 40-odd years for Sir Bobby’s record to be broken which shows how high a mark it was.”
Rooney’s goal came in the fourth minute of injury time to salvage a point after Juan Mata’s first-half own goal looked to have handed Stoke the win.
Mourinho was frustrated that his side did not do better with the chances they created but credited Stoke for a well-organised defensive approach.
“It was a big game with two teams in the beginning trying to win,” he said. “But after 25 minutes one team tried to win and the other tried to defend, which they did amazingly well. They showed great work rate and did everything to try and stop us.
“We did everything well except in front of our target. We missed unbelievable chances. We hit the post, the keeper saves, we miss chances and we have another draw. We have too many draws for the attacking play we produce. Opposition goalkeepers are always amazing against us.”
Hughes felt a little aggrieved at the amount of injury time added by referee Mark Clattenburg but praised his side’s resilience during long spells of United pressure.
“I didn’t feel there was five minutes added on but that gave them enough time to get something out of the game,” he said. “We are disappointed but we need to pick ourselves up. We were within seconds of beating a very good Manchester United team.
“My only criticism to the guys is that we didn’t keep the ball long enough. We are good enough to do that but we needed more care to get up the other end of the pitch. But fair play to Man United: they put on attacking players and made it hard for us to get out.
“In the end we tried to protect what we had and I can’t criticise what we did for the free-kick.”