Jose Mourinho has launched an impassioned defence of striker Marcus Rashford - and berated the critics who he claims are "obsessed" with the Manchester United manager.
Mourinho argued that Rashford - England's scorer in the 2-1 Nations League loss to Spain and the 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland on Tuesday - already has plenty of playing time at Old Trafford, and does not need to leave United to further his career.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher has claimed 20-year-old Rashford must leave United for a club such as Everton with Romelu Lukaku ahead of him in the pecking order, but Mourinho has rejected such claims by insisting he is fully committed to the player's development, citing playing time as tangilble proof.
Rashford always in contention to play for United unless injured/suspended
Facts support Mourinho's commitment to forward
Media are compulsive liars who are obsessed with Mourinho
Rashford out of Watford match on Saturday due to suspension
FULL MOURINHO TRANSCRIPT
"For the Manchester United supporters, I think it’s important that they have the right idea of how things are in reality. The most important thing of all is the kid [Marcus Rashford] is a good kid, the kid is a good player and knows what Manchester United did for him, starting in the Academy and then with Mr Van Gaal’s support and my support and the club’s support and the new contract and the new (number 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.
"Some of the people, everybody knows that they have double salaries, they also work for other clubs and when they also work for the clubs, of course they are not independent and of course they conduct things in the direction they want to conduct things.
"That’s obvious and that’s human, and that’s natural. It’s not tactical but I accept clearly. The ones that wake up in the morning and the first thing that comes into their minds is Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, I feel sorry for them because there are much more interesting things to wake up and be happy about in the morning than to speak immediately about us and about football.
"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.
"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 are speaking and speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.
"Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke, he’s not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he’s not 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.
"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 myself 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.
"Speaking about Marcus, I think I can expect that on Sunday I’m going to be highly criticised for not playing him because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and, I think, have a problem with some compulsive lies. So I can expect on Sunday, some of them will wake up in the morning and always the first thing that comes to their mind is Jose Mourinho.
"So I can imagine 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, he scored and especially in a period where he comes with some sadness after his suspension. It was very good that he did that."
WHAT DID JAMIE CARRAGHER SAY?
"I don't see Marcus Rashford ever displacing Romelu Lukaku so long as he is there, but Lukaku was at Chelsea and he had to come away from there and go to Everton.
"He ended up top scorer and then got his move to Manchester United.
Jamie Carragher inside the stadium before the match
Image credit: Reuters
"Everton is a club where someone like a Rashford knows he can play every week.
"Last season, he played poorly against Brighton, Mourinho had a pop at him and Lukaku went straight back in the next game. That is the problem he will always have."