Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has defended his use of Marcus Rashford at Old Trafford since arriving in 2016.
Rashford, 20, broke into the first team at United in 2016 under Louis van Gaal, having initially been called up for a Europa League game in which in scored twice followed by another two in his next appearance against Arsenal.
Under Mourinho, however, Rashford’s playing time has come into question with some believing the Portuguese is failing in developing the youngster which gained more traction as he scored twice in two games for England over the international break.
But now Mourinho has hit back at his critics, turning up to a pre-match press conference armed with statistics over Rashford’s playing time.
“Speaking about Marcus, I think I can expect that Sunday I’m going to be highly criticised for not playing him tomorrow,” he told reporters ahead of United’s game against Watford (via the Manchester Evening News).
“Because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and some of them have, I think a problem with some compulsive lies, so I can expect that Sunday some of them will wake up in the morning and always the first thing they think that comes to their mind is Jose Mourinho.
“So I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticised for not playing Marcus but is not my fault, he’s suspended, so probably you should remind them he is suspended and cannot play.
“Performances with England, of course I’m happy, he played well, competed well, he score and especially in a period where he comes with some sadness after his suspension and it was very good that he did that.
“If you don’t mind to lose a couple of minutes, I’m going to do something not for you but the United fans and I think I hold myself to the United fans and for them I am going to spend two minutes with you.
“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 3068 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, 35 Premier League matches, eight in Champions League, five in FA Cup, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final. He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 minutes, if you divide that by 90, gives 29.7 matches, so with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,774 minutes, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals, so the people that is speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.”