Jose Mourinho launched a staunch defence of his use of Marcus Rashford, hitting back at the “compulsive lies” used by some pundits to criticise him.
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.
Gareth Southgate says the attacker has to play to improve, while some pundits, like Alan Shearer and Ian Wright, have suggested Rashford may have to leave United in order to get the games he needs.
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.”