Mourinho: Rashford has played 105 matches, he is not Solanke or Loftus-Cheek
Jose Mourinho has hit back at criticism surrounding Marcus Rashford’s game time at Manchester United by highlighting a raft of statistics about the England forward.
With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez seen as United’s main attacking options, there have been some suggestions Rashford is not getting a fair chance at Old Trafford.
Mourinho refuted that in spectacular style on Friday by pointing out that Rashford has played 105 times for United since the Portuguese took charge.
“Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke,” said Mourinho. “He is not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he is not Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“He is 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.”
And Mourinho’s remarkable outburst did not stop there as he reeled off a prepared list of statistics to prove a point to sections of the media he feels are “obsessed” with him.
He continued: “I’m going to do something, not for you [the media], 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 want 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.”
Rashford is suspended for Saturday’s trip to Vicarage Road when United meet unbeaten Watford, but Mourinho still expects some of the press to criticise him for not selecting the 20-year-old.
“I can expect that [on] Sunday I’m going to be highly criticised for not playing him tomorrow, because some of the boys are obsessed with me, and some of them have [a] problem with compulsive lies,” added the United boss.
“So I can expect that [on] 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.
“Some of the persons, everybody knows they have double salaries, they work also for the clubs and of course they are not independent, and they conduct things in the direction they want, that’s obvious.
“It’s natural, not ethical, but I accept it. 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 more exciting things in life.
“The most important thing of all is that the kid is a good kid, a good player, knows what Manchester United did for him, starting in the academy, then Mr [Louis] Van Gaal’s support, my support, the club’s support, a new contract, new shirt, and selected for every single match.
“Since I was here, he was never one day out for selection because of my decision, only if injured or suspended. He was never, ever out for selection, so he knows, and that’s the most important thing.”