Marcus Rashford says Jose Mourinho helped him to be ‘savvy’ in the penalty area

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Marcus Rashford has acknowledged the former manager of Manchester United Jose Mourinho for the improved number of penalty kicks the club has been recording under the club’s current coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Jose Mourinho brought the 23-year-old England international to the limelight at Manchester United when he was the football manager of the club between 2016 and 2018. Marcus Rashford said when the Portuguese tactician was at the club, he taught him to be “savvy” in the penalty area.

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in 2018 first in the interim before he was given a permanent contract, Manchester United are seen as being favored in terms of the number of spot-kicks they have been awarded.

For instance, since the 2018-2019 season to date, Manchester United have been awarded 29 penalties in the Premier League and they have scored 21 of the spot-kicks. So far in the 2020-2021 season, the club has been awarded 6 spot-kicks in the Premier League, scoring 5 and missing one.

This means that Manchester United are the Premier League club with the highest amount of spot-kicks in the last two seasons and such a trend might repeat itself this season.

The amount of penalty calls Manchester United have enjoyed frustrated Liverpool’s coach Jurgen Klopp to the extent he referenced United on January 4 when Southampton defeated Liverpool 1-0 in a match in which Klopp believed his club deserved a spot-kick.

When Marcus Rashford commented on how frequent Manchester United are being awarded spot-kicks, the English forward said he learned from a talk Jose Mourinho gave him about the need to be savvy in the penalty area which has helped the club to win more penalties.

Marcus Rashford and Jose Mourinho during their time together at Manchester United.
Marcus Rashford and Jose Mourinho during their time together at Manchester United.

The England international insisted that the amount of spot-kicks United have won showed that the club is more attacking minded and the opposing teams are always trying to prevent the club from scoring.

“As a forward line, we want to go and score goals,” Rashford said in an interview with Football Writers’ Association.

“When you are making runs in behind or you are dribbling with the ball and if you see a challenge coming, you don’t want to get tackled because you are looking at an opportunity to score a goal.

“There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you, so for me, it is just a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals – and you know, penalties can happen…

“But there have been times when we have probably not got penalties. I remember when Jose (Mourinho) was manager, there were five or six times I can remember where I should have had a penalty.

“Jose ended up saying to me: ‘if you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to (get) it.’ After that, we started to get a few penalties.

“It was something that in terms of development you have to learn that and understand it.”

Marcus Rashford is expected to lead Manchester United to face Liverpool in a top of the table game scheduled to take place at Anfield Stadium on Sunday, January 17, at 17:30. A win in the match would keep Manchester United at the top of the league table with 39 points in 18 games. While Liverpool might remain on the second spot with 33 points pending the outcome of other matchday 18 games.