'Switch your f***ing minds on!': Wayne Rooney's DC United team-talks for MLS opener vs Toronto are revealed - and he predicted his team WOULD come back from behind before dramatic two-goal injury time fightback for a 3-2 victory
Wayne Rooney backed his DC United side to come back from a potential deficit in their MLS opener, and his side proved him right with a thrilling stoppage-time victory vs. Toronto FC.
New video from DC United shows Rooney's pregame and halftime team-talks, and the former Manchester United forward called on his side to show belief on Saturday against the likes of Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi.
'I've seen some of the interviews from their side. They've come here expecting to win,' he said.
'So, I got asked a question in the press conference, I got asked, 'what's your expectations, because everyone else in the league don't expect us to do anything.' I don't give a f--- what anyone else thinks.
'I know what we've got in here, I know what we've done throughout the preseason, I know what we're capable of doing. So you have to f------ believe in yourselves,' he continued.
Wayne Rooney urged his players to 'switch on' during opposing free kicks and throw-ins
'Believe in yourselves as a group, as individuals. Be a team, whatever happens. It might be that we go a goal down, it doesn't matter. Believe that you can get back in the game and go win the game.
'We can do great things this season, and it starts tonight,' he concluded his fiery pregame speech.
DC United's season got off to a great start in the the 13th minute when debutant and former Leeds midfielder Mateusz Klich scored with a long-range strike.
Rooney, though, knew at halftime the job was not yet finished.
Though he largely praised the players for their first half performances, he urged them to 'switch your f***ing minds on' during opposing free kicks and throw-ins.
He also encouraged them to show the sort of ruthlessness he so often did during his glittering playing career.
'Make sure we're f***ing clinical lads. Kill the game off,' he said.
While DC eventually seized all three points, they didn't exactly follow that script laid out by Rooney.
Striker Christian Benteke tied the game in the 90th minute with a powerful header
And youngster Ted Ku-DiPietro netted the winner eight minutes into stoppage time
A penalty from Bernardeschi and later a goal from Mark-Anthony Kaye gave Toronto the lead with seven minutes (plus stoppage time) remaining, but Rooney's players showed they took his pregame words to heart.
Ex-Aston Villa, Liverpool and Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke tied the game up with a header in the 90th minute, before 21-year-old Ted Ku-DiPietro converted a close chance in the eighth minute of stoppage time to deliver a stunning win.
Last year, DC finished last in the Eastern Conference with just seven wins in 34 matches, and MLS media are predicting a similar outcome in 2023.
Out of 13 pundits who made their picks on MLSSoccer.com, no one predicted the team would finish higher 12th in the East.
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