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LONDON, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho blasted his critics with a barrage of statistics on Friday to defend the amount of playing time given to England striker Marcus Rashford over the past two years.

Some pundits have expressed concern that the 20-year-old, who has scored twice for his country in the last two internationals, is not starting in the Premier League with Romelu Lukaku United’s regular target man.

The youngster has played 122 minutes in the top flight so far this season, with one start, and is banned for tomorrow’s game at Watford after being sent off in the last game at Burnley.

Mourinho said he wanted to set the record straight even if ‘obsessed’ people, who had “a problem with some compulsive lies”, would criticise him anyway.

“I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticised for not playing Marcus but is not my fault, he’s suspended,” said the Portuguese, before embarking on an extended monologue to set out the numbers for those who were “a bit confused”.

“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 said.

“He had 53 appearances, but if you want to take the minutes of play, he played 3,068 minutes and if you want to divide that by 90 minutes of the matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 minutes in ‘16-17.

“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 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.”

 

MANCHESTER, August 29, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United players have taken to openly discussing boss Jose Mourinho’s future at Old Trafford.

Some believe that defeat in their match to Burnley will see him sacked, while others do not see him lasting September.

There is a belief that the situation is similar to the last days of Louis van Gaal, whose exit had an air of inevitability.

While Mourinho is unlikely to walk away from his contract, the possibility of Zinedine Zidane has been talked about.

After Spurs ensured Manchester United got off to their worst start in 26 years, The Mirror say the result leaves Mourinho on the brink, and noted how the United boss’ elongated applause towards the Stretford End signalled how his time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, every paper in existence (probably) reported on his spectacular post-match press conference, in which he called for “respect” while highlighting the three Premier League titles he has won.

The Daily Mail were among those to lead on the taunts from Spurs fans towards Jose of ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’, while the Express picked up on Mourinho's refusal to discuss United's lack of summer activity in the transfer window.

He said: "The market is closed. There is no market until January 1. I’ve said what I need to say, and I won't say another word about that."

MANCHESTER, August 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Jose Mourinho hailed captain Paul Pogba’s willingness to put his body on the line to lead Manchester United to a winning start in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City.

Less than a month since Pogba scored in the World Cup final to help France lift the trophy, he was thrown straight into action by Mourinho despite just returning to pre-season training this week.

Pogba’s third-minute spot-kick settled the hosts’ nerves as United allayed some of the doom and gloom predicted by Mourinho after failing to land a series of targets before Thursday’s transfer deadline.

Luke Shaw sealed the points seven minutes from time before Jamie Vardy headed home a consolation for the visitors.

After a week in which Pogba has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Barcelona’s interest piqued by the Frenchman’s frosty relationship with Mourinho after he was repeatedly dropped last season, the Portuguese showed his faith in the midfielder by surprisingly handing him the armband.

“Pogba was a monster,” said Mourinho. “We thought maximum (he could play) 60 minutes, but he managed 80.”

On top of his transfer troubles, Mourinho had a host of injuries and players lacking match sharpness after the World Cup to contend with.

“Paul was fantastic, his contribution was amazing but the fuel was disappearing. We were in trouble,” added Mourinho.

“I don’t remember in my career to be in so much in trouble to make my changes because I wanted to make five or six and I could only make three.”

The hosts got a much-needed lift after just two minutes when Daniel Amartey was harshly adjudged by referee Andre Mariner to have handled Alexis Sanchez’s shot.

Pogba resisted the pleas of Sanchez to take the spot-kick and after a prolonged stuttering run up, dispatched his shot into the top corner giving Kasper Schmeichel no chance to repeat his penalty saving heroics at the World Cup for Denmark.

“We don’t have a penalty taker, it’s how we feel and I decided to take it. Maybe on the next game I leave it to Alexis,” said Pogba.

“I didn’t have any pre-season games, I came back on Monday so it was very hard for the legs.”

Mourinho was particularly annoyed to miss out on a series of centre-back targets, including Leicester’s Harry Maguire who shone for England in Russia.

“It will be a difficult season for everybody, not just for us,” said Mourinho. “I had my plans for many months and I find myself with the market closed in a situation I did not think I would be in.”

However, he can still rely on one of the world’s best goalkeepers as David de Gea put his poor World Cup showing behind him with a fine save to prevent James Maddison levelling.

 

MANCHESTER, August 9, 2018 (News Wires) - Jose Mourinho has taken a swipe at Manchester United's detractors a day ahead of his side's Premier League opener at home to Leicester City.

United's boss, about to begin his third season at the helm at Old Trafford, has cut a disgruntled figure during the summer, apparently unhappy with the club's transfer window activity.

Mourinho sounded pessimistic that he would make any last-minute signings when talking to media on Thursday.

"I'm not confident, I'm not confident and the market closes today, so is time at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed," Mourinho said.

"I will have to focus on the players I have and in relation to this first couple of matches."

But he was quick to point out his United side were closest to runaway leaders Manchester City last season, even if they finished 19 points adrift.

"My view is that, first of all, is difficult for me to believe we finished second," he said.

"When I listen, when I read, not much but sometimes I do, is difficult to believe that we finished second, because you are capable of making people that finish second look like they were relegated, and people who win nothing, finish below us, and you make them look like serial winners.

"Is difficult for me to understand, to feel, to believe we finish second. I won eight championships and three Premier Leagues but I keep feeling the second last season was one of my biggest achievements in the game."

Mourinho, who will be without the likes of Nemanja Matic, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo on Friday, once again bemoaned the lack of preparation time for the start of the season, with many of his players having just returned to training after taking time off following the World Cup.

"The target is Leicester match and the tactics to be changed in Championship Manager you can just press a button," he said.

"In football you need time to work and players on the pitch to work and we didn't have until now.

"I told that during pre-season it looked like I was saying something absolutely out of order, something crazy, I repeat and maybe tomorrow the reaction is the same: Pre-season difficult when you don't have your players to work, as simple as that."

MANCHESTER, August 7, 2018 (News Wires) - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho hopes to be able to call upon some of the players who have just returned from the World Cup when his side host Leicester City in their Premier League opener on Friday.

Several United players, including Sweden’s Victor Lindelof and England pair Marcus Rashford and Phil Jones, returned to training just last week and have had little time to get ready for the new campaign.

Mourinho told MUTV he expected Rashford to get better as the week progressed.

“Lindelof the same, Jones the same and let’s see if one of the others is ready to give us a help, 20-25 minutes. Any help that can come from them, is welcome,” he added.

Mourinho suggested Ashley Young, Jesse Lingard, Marouane Fellaini, Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku could also play a part against Leicester.