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Marcus Rashford in action against Leicester

Mourinho defends Rashford selection record

Jose Mourinho provided a rousing statement highlighting Marcus Rashford's importance to Manchester United during his press conference on Friday.

Rashford scored twice for England during the international break but is suspended for United’s trip to Watford on Saturday, and for the following two domestic games, after being sent off in the Reds’ win at Burnley.

Following the striker’s performances for the Three Lions, some reports suggested the 20-year-old should leave Old Trafford in search of more regular first-team football. 

But Mourinho arrived at the Aon Training Complex to pour cold water on that claim, armed with statistics to illustrate just how much the forward has played during his two-year tenure so far.

In full: Mourinho's epic defence of RashfordVideo

“Speaking about Marcus, I think I can expect that on Sunday I'm going to be highly criticised for not playing him [on Saturday] because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and some of them, I think, have a problem with some compulsive lies,” Mourinho declared. 

“So I can expect on 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'm going to be criticised for not playing Marcus, but it's not my fault.

“He is suspended, so probably we should remind them that he's suspended and cannot play. Performances with England, of course I am happy. He played well, he competed well and he scored, 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 with me, I'm going to do something, not for you but for the United fans, because I think I owe it to the United fans to share two minutes with you.

In the 2016/17 season, 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 minutes played, he played 3,068 minutes and, if you want to divide that into 90 minutes of matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 minutes in 2016/17.

“In 2017/18, he played 35 matches in the Premier League, eight in the Champions League, five in the FA Cup, including the final, three League Cup matches and the UEFA Super Cup. He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 minutes. If you divide that into 90 minutes, it gives 29.7 matches.

Jose Mourinho says

“Some people wake up in the morning and the first thing they think of is Jose Mourinho. So I can imagine on Sunday I'm going to be criticised for not playing Marcus, but it's not my fault.”

“With me in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,744 minutes, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals. 

“So the people who are speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused. Marcus Rashford is not [Liverpool’s] Dominic Solanke, he's not [Chelsea’s] Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he's not [Everton’s] 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. 

“So, Manchester United supporters, it is for you and just for you to know what we're doing with Marcus Rashford, with Luke Shaw, with Jesse Lingard, with Scott McTominay. That's what we're doing here.

“The most important thing of all is he is a good kid, a good player and he knows what Manchester United did for him, starting in the Academy and then with Mr [Louis] van Gaal's support and my support and the club's support and the new contract and the new [no.10] shirt and being selected for every single match.

”Since I've been here, Marcus Rashford has been selected for every single match – he was never, not even for one day, out of selection because of my decision or because he was injured or, like in this case, because he is suspended. He was never, never out of selection, so he knows and that's the most important thing.

“But again, media is very important and I think it's important the Manchester United supporters know the truth. That's why I'm going so specific about these numbers.”

Jose Mourinho says

“With me in two seasons, Marcus had 105 appearances, 5,744 minutes, including five finals. He has an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level in the best possible competitions.”

“The most important thing of all is he is a good kid, a good player and he knows what Manchester United did for him, starting in the Academy and then with Mr [Louis] van Gaal's support and my support and the club's support and the new contract and the new [no.10] shirt and being selected for every single match.

”Since I've been here, Marcus Rashford has been selected for every single match – he was never, not even for one day, out of selection because of my decision or because he was injured or, like in this case, because he is suspended. He was never, never out of selection, so he knows and that's the most important thing.

“But again, media is very important and I think it's important the Manchester United supporters know the truth. That's why I'm going so specific about these numbers.”