Mour­inho does the maths on use of Rash­ford

United man­ager reeled off list of sta­tis­tics over use of for­ward for ‘ob­sessed’ pun­dits Says that he is ‘in the dark’ over Pogba’s fu­ture, but be­lieves he wants to stay

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - SOCCER - JAMIE JACK­SON

José Mour­inho has de­fended his use of Mar­cus Rash­ford, with Manch­ester United’s man­ager read­ing from a pre­pared sheet of sta­tis­tics re­gard­ing the for­ward’s ap­pear­ances since he took over in sum­mer 2016.

On a day when Mour­inho said he was “in the dark” over Paul Pogba’s fu­ture but that he be­lieved the mid­fielder wanted to stay, his ex­tra­or­di­nary per­for­mance over Rash­ford dom­i­nated the nar­ra­tive.

After Rash­ford’s two goals in two games for Eng­land it was sug­gested by some pun­dits that the 20-year-old may have to leave United to fur­ther his de­vel­op­ment. Rash­ford is un­avail­able at Wat­ford to­day be­cause he starts a three-game ban.

Mour­inho joked about this when de­fend­ing his de­ploy­ment of the player. “I think I can ex­pect that Sun­day I’m go­ing to be highly crit­i­cised for not play­ing him,” he said. “Be­cause some of the [me­dia] boys are re­ally ob­sessed with me. Some of them, they have a prob­lem with some com­pul­sive lies, so I can ex­pect that Sun­day some of them they will wake up in the morn­ing and as al­ways the first thing they think is José Mour­inho.”

Shortly after, he read from the sheet. “On the sea­son ’16-’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 min­utes of the matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 min­utes.

“In ’17-’18, he played 35 Premier League matches, eight in Cham­pi­ons League, five in FA Cup in­clud­ing the fi­nal, 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, it gives 29.7 matches, so with me, in two sea­sons, he had 105 ap­pear­ances, 5,744 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.”

Pogba’s hap­pi­ness at United continues to be an is­sue after the mid­fielder ad­mit­ted last week that he did not know what would hap­pen “in the next few months”. Pogba is rep­re­sented by Mino Raiola, and it was sug­gested the Dutch­man is work­ing in pri­vate to pave the way for his client’s de­par­ture.

“If I watch Mr Raiola on the screen say­ing the player wants to leave and that he is or­gan­is­ing a way for him to try to leave, then I will be­lieve,” Mour­inho said. “At this mo­ment, I am in the dark. The only thing that is clear for me is that the player never – never in all these days we are to­gether – he never told me that he wants to leave.”

Mour­inho, asked whether Pogba had told him he wanted to stay, said: “If he doesn’t tell me he wants to leave, it’s be­cause he wants to stay. That’s my con­clu­sion.” – Guardian

I can ex­pect that Sun­day some of them they will wake up in the morn­ing and as al­ways the first thing they think is José Mour­inho

PHO­TO­GRAPH: MARTIN RICKETT/PA WIRE

Jose Mour­inho has launched a re­mark­able de­fence of the way he uses Mar­cus Rash­ford, reel­ing off a list of sta­tis­tics as the Manch­ester United man­ager lashed out at “ob­sessed” pun­dits.

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