Mourinho helped me become ‘savvy’ striker in penalties says Rashford

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Marcus Rashford has said that former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had helped him become a more “savvy” striker in terms of winning penalties.

Following Premier League champions Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton earlier this month, a match where striker Sadio Mane was denied a spot-kick, Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said United had been given “more penalties in two years than I had in five-and-a-half years” in charge at Anfield.

But Rashford, during an interview after he received the Football Writers’ Association 2021 Tribute Award on Thursday, said the reason why United were getting plenty of penalties was down to their attack-minded approach rather than some sort of bias on the part of match officials.

“As a forward line, we want to go and score goals,” Rashford said.

“When you are making runs in behind or you are 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.

“There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you, so for me it is just a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals — and you know, penalties can happen.”

The England international added a conversation with Mourinho, now in charge of top-flight rivals Tottenham Hotspur, had helped change his approach.

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“But there have been times when we have probably not got penalties,” he recalled. “I remember when Jose was manager, there were five or six times I can remember where I should have had a penalty.

“Jose ended up saying to me: ‘If you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to (get) give(n) it.’ After that, we started to get a few penalties.