LONDON: Marcus Rashford says former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho helped him become a “smarter” striker in terms of getting penalties.
After Premier League champions Liverpool lost 1-0 to Southampton earlier this month, in a match that saw striker Sadio Mane denied a penalty, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said United were given “more penalties in two years than five and a half years for me” at Anfield .
However, Rashford, in an interview after receiving the 2021 Football Writers Association Award yesterday, said that the main reason United were given more penalties was their approach to attacking rather than the partiality of some match officials.
“As a striker, we want to score,” Rashford said.
“When you run behind an opponent’s defense or dribbling the ball and when you see other players’ challenges, you don’t want to be rude because you see the opportunity to score.
“You’re not going to let other players take the ball from you, so for me it’s just because we want to score more goals and the opposing team tries to defend it – and you know, penalties can happen.”
The England international added that his conversation with Mourinho, who now heads Tottenham Hotspur, helped him change his approach.
“But there are times when we do not get a penalty,” he said. “I remember when Jose was manager, there were five or six times I was supposed to get a penalty.
“Jose finally said to me: ‘if you are not smart in how you do it, you will not get it.’ After that, we started getting some penalties. ”
United are currently at the top of the Premier League, three points ahead of Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s midnight clash.