Marcus Rashford has revealed a pep talk from the former Manchester United manager José Mourinho helped him become more “savvy” in the penalty area, at an apparent swipe at Spurs manger for insinuating the United players were diving and winning penalties.
Rashford received the Football Writers’ Association 2021 tribute award on Thursday and in a wide-ranging interview was asked why United might be perceived to be getting more than their fair share of penalties.
United’s penalty record in recent seasons has become a bone of contention, with many voicing their opinion over the number Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been awarded, with Jurgen Klopp being the latest to have a swipe with comments that some believe were made in an attempt to influence referees, as he complained his side aren’t as fortunate in being awarded spot kicks.
United have had 20 penalties since the start of last season in the league compared to Liverpool’s 10, while United have won 67 penalties during Klopp’s tenure at Anfield in comparison to the Reds’ 46.
There has been plenty of debate as to why United have been topping the table for penalties awarded and Rashford has explained it is due to the movement of their forwards and some advice from Mourinho when he was in charge.
“As a forward line, we want to go and score goals, when you are making runs in behind or 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,”Rashford at the FWA tribute award.
Rashford believes the connection he has established with fellow front men Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes make United “more dangerous” as they go in search of silverware this season. The trio have been at the forefront of the club’s rise up the Premier League in recent weeks, with United leapfrogging defending champions Liverpool to the top of the table after Tuesday’s 1-0 victory at Burnley.
United travel to Anfield on Sunday three points ahead of the defending champions after an impressive run of form in the league, but it won’t be an easy task to extend their lead to six points as Klopp’s side are unbeaten at home in the league going back to April 2017.
Rashford feels there is even more to come from himself, Martial and Fernandes as an attacking force.
“We can just be so strong and for us, that is what is key because if we want to win trophies and win the leagues, then you need versatility. I believe that we have one of the most versatile squads probably in the Premier League, especially going forwards.We are a team which is still improving, we are in a good run of form, so we have to just try to keep focusing on ourselves and do the best we can do. As long as we do that, you walk off the pitch with no regrets.”