"Is he afraid to drop Rooney?" - Paddy Mulligan examines Mourinho's teething problems at Man United

Ex-Ireland and Chelsea defender reacts to Watford loss

Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney

Manchester United's Tema Manager Jose Mourinho applauds t Manchester United's Wayne Rooney after scoring during the English Premier League soccer match between Bournemouth and Manchester United at Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, England, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Ex-Ireland and Chelsea full-back Paddy Mulligan believes there is a possibility that Jose Mourinho's bad experience at Chelsea last season has had a long-term effect.

The Manchester United manager has watched his side lose three matches in a row as he tries to find his best formula, going down 3-1 at Watford on Sunday.

But judging from Mourinho's comments and demeanour after the game, Paddy feels the after-effects of a tense 2015-16 are still being felt.

"He chose his words carefully, not like at Chelsea where he'd just lambast people including referees," he said on the Rewind podcast.

"He was very subdued yesterday I thought and I wonder is the confidence that he's always exuded, is that evaporating now? He had a very, very rough time at Chelsea and has it left scars?"

But Paddy feels that Mourinho is not learning from his mistakes tactically as of yet.

And an example of one of those issues is the presence of Wayne Rooney in the starting XI despite many reasons that could justify dropping the player.

"Is he afraid to drop Rooney?" Paddy mused.

"It's been years since he's performed at any real high level. Now, he's on the go for 14-15 years, let's not forget, from the time he was 16 years of age so that's got to take its toll as well. But he's nowhere near the Wayne Rooney that we had five or six years ago. He's not getting round the pitch. It's as simple as that and it's a pity because he was a smashing player.

"But Wayne Rooney for me is an enigma because he's never, ever produced it for England in the Euros finals or World Cup finals. And he's not producing it for United and he's not done so for quite a few years. So for Mourinho now, this is a test of just how gutsy he is because he's got to make his mind about which way he wants his team to play."