Jose Mourinho launched a staunch defence of his use of Marcus Rashford, hitting back at the “compulsive lies” used by some pundits to criticise the Manchester United manager.
Rashford’s playing time has been a hot topic during the international break while he started both games for England, scoring against Spain and Switzerland.
We highlighted that Rashford has enjoyed similar playing time to that given to Crisitiano Ronald0 during his first few seasons at Old Trafford and Mourinho came to his press conference on Friday armed with a list of stats to back up his argument that the 20-year-old has played a prominent role during his reign.
“Speaking about Marcus, I think I can expect that Sunday I’m going to be highly criticised for not playing him tomorrow, because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and some of them have a problem with some compulsive lies,” said Mourinho.
“So I can expect that Sunday some of them will wake up in the morning and the first thing they think of is Jose Mourinho, so I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticised for not playing Marcus but it’s not my fault, he’s suspended, so probably you should remind them he is suspended and cannot play.
“So I’m going to do something, not for you, but the United fans, and I think I hold myself to the United fans and so for them I am going to spend two mins with you.
“In 2016-17, Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 Europa League matches, including the final, three FA Cup matches, six League Cup matches, including the final, and the Community Shield.
“He had 53 appearances, but if you want to take to the minutes of play, he played 3,068, and if you wan to divide that by 90-minute matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90-minute matches in 2016-17.
“In 2017-18, he played 35 Premier League matches, eight in the Champions League, five in the FA Cup, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final.
“He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 mins, and if you divide that by 90, it gives you 29.7 matches, so with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,774 mins, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals, so the people speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.
“Marcus is not Dominic Solanke, not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, not Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he’s Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player, with an incredible number of appearances and an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level in the best possible competitions.
“So Manchester United supporters, for you and just for you, to know what we are doing with Marcus, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, that’s what we are doing here.”
Mourinho reckons Rashford is fine where he is. And we agree…
It was put to the manager that he appears irritated by the perception he does not play Rashford enough.
“It’s not a perception,” he replied.
“You know some of the persons, everybody knows that they have double salaries.
“They work also for the clubs and when they work also for the clubs of course they are not independent and of course they conduct things in the direction they want to conduct things.
“That’s obvious and that’s human, and that’s natural. It’s not ethical but I accept, clearly.
“The ones that wake up in the morning and the first thing that comes into their mind is Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, I feel sorry for them because there are much more interesting things to wake up and to be happy in the morning about than to speak immediately about us and about football.
“But for the Manchester United supporters, I think it is important they have the right idea of how things are in reality.”