Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal attempted to shield Wayne Rooney from criticism after the striker turned in a laborious display in a 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
United controlled possession in Sunday's 170th derby at Old Trafford, but had to wait until the closing stages to create any chances, with Jesse Lingard hitting the bar and Chris Smalling forcing Joe Hart to save.
For the third game running Rooney started up front, but he was eclipsed by team-mate Anthony Martial, lining up on the left, who was United's most dangerous attacking player and set up Lingard's chance with a dinked pass.
Van Gaal refused to discuss Rooney's performance, however, telling his post-match press conference: "I have to talk every week about Rooney. Why?"
When it was put to him that it was because the United captain is one of his team's star players, Van Gaal told his interlocutor: "Then you have to write it down. It is your opinion.
"I don't give any more answers about Wayne Rooney because I am sick of them."
Playing the day after his 30th birthday, Rooney was looking to extend his all-time record of 11 derby goals and equal Denis Law's United tally of 237 goals, and yet failed to record a single attempt at goal.
But he was not alone in that regard as United hit the target only once, through Smalling, and Van Gaal revealed that he had asked his players at half-time: "Why don't you shoot?"
His exasperation did not end there, as he also rued referee Mark Clattenburg's decision not to award United a penalty early in the second half after Ander Herrera appeared to be caught by Raheem Sterling.
"We don't have the luck neither because I have seen on the video that Herrera, it was a penalty, but the referee was not giving us that benefit," he said.
United did not register an attempt at goal in the first half for the first time in a Premier League game since the 2003-04 season, while it took until the 82nd minute for either side to muster a shot on target, with City substitute Jesus Navas tamely shooting at David de Gea.