Jose Mourinho subtly rejected the idea that he is partly responsible for Manchester United’s ability to ‘win’ so many penalties.
The amount of spot kicks the Red Devils are awarded continues to be a hot topic of conversation. So far in 2020/21, they have been awarded 11 spot kicks in 28 games.
That comes after United were awarded 14 penalties in the Premier League alone last term. That was three more than any other side in the competition.
While some of those awarded have been contentious, the goals that have resulted have undoubtedly helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men pick up results at times.
With many questioning why the Old Trafford club get so many penalties, Marcus Rashford was quizzed on the matter recently.
And the striker suggested that it was current Tottenham boss Mourinho who advised United players to start making the most of contact in the penalty area.
“There’s been times when we have not got penalties,” he told the Football Writers’ Association (via Goal).
“I remember when Jose was manager, there were five or six times I can remember where I should’ve had a penalty. Jose ended up saying to me if you’re not savvy about the way you do it then you’re not going to get it.
“After that we started to get a few – in terms of development, you have to learn it and understand it.”
Figures tell a different story
Mourinho didn’t seem to accept that point of view though, suggesting his record tells a different story.
The Portuguese manager was keen not to get involved in any feuds during the week of his former club’s huge clash with Liverpool- Jurgen Klopp has been vocal about the penalties that go in United’s favour- but did tell reporters to look at the stats to see if Rashford’s claim was accurate.
“Look, first of all, Liverpool versus Manchester United is a big match that doesn’t need me to make it bigger, ” Mourinho said.
“Or it doesn’t need me to do any headlines before such a big match that I know means so much for both clubs and supporters’ population, so I’ll leave comments for later not for now.
“If you feel the need to write something about it, do it in a very simple way. Stats. Go to Opta, stats, go to my history as a manager in my more or less 10 Premier League seasons. Compare numbers and take your conclusions.”
The amount of spot kicks United get increased after Mourinho’s departure. They were given 19 during his two-and-a-half years in charge compared to 42 since Solskjaer took over in December 2018.