Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has slammed his critics in an astonishing rant centred around the playing time of Marcus Rashford.
Rashford's lack of starts at Old Trafford has been a hot topic in recent days after the 20-year-old scored in both of England's matches over the international break, with Jamie Carragher among those suggesting he needs to leave United to reach his full potential.
He has played three times this season, though he is yet to complete 90 minutes, though he has already made over 125 appearances for the club, scoring 32 goals.
Mourinho has been accused of not giving the United academy product enough chances to showcase his talent since taking over the Red Devils in 2016.
And the Portuguese launched an impassioned defence of his usage of the forward ahead of Saturday's clash with Watford - a match which Rashford will miss through suspension following his red card against Burnley last time out.
“Speaking about Marcus, I think I can expect that Sunday I’m going to be highly criticised for not playing him tomorrow, because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and some of them have a problem with some compulsive lies,” he told a press conference.
“So I can expect that Sunday some of them will wake up in the morning and the first thing they think of is Jose Mourinho, so I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticised for not playing Marcus but it’s not my fault, he’s suspended, so probably you should remind them he is suspended and cannot play.
“So I’m going to do something, not for you, but the United fans, and I think I hold myself to the United fans and so for them I am going to spend two mins with you."
He added: “In 2016-17, 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 to the minutes of play, he played 3,068, and if you want to divide that by 90-minute matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90-minute matches in 2016-17.
“In 2017-18, he played 35 Premier League matches, eight in the Champions League, five in the FA Cup, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final.
“He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 mins, and if you divide that by 90, it gives you 29.7 matches, so with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,774 mins, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals, so the people speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused."
Mourinho also went on the offensive regarding the records of other clubs, calling out a number of former Chelsea youngsters, including Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has played more minutes for England than the Blues this season.
“Marcus is not Dominic Solanke, not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, not Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he’s 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," he added.
“So Manchester United supporters, for you and just for you, to know what we are doing with Marcus, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, that’s what we are doing here.”
Mourinho also insists that some journalists are obsessed with him, suggesting a media agenda.
“Some of the persons, everybody knows they have double salaries, they work also for the clubs and of course they are not independent and they conduct things in the direction they want, that’s obvious," he said.
“It’s natural, not ethical, but I accept it. The ones that wake up in the morning and the first thing that comes into their mind is Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, I feel sorry for them because there are more exciting things in life
“The most important thing of all is that the kid is a good kid, a good player, knows what Manchester United did for him, starting in the academy, then Mr Van Gaal’s support, my support, the club’s support, a new contract, new shirt, and selected for every single match.
“Since I was here, he was never one day out for selection because of my decision, only if injured or suspended. He was never, ever out for selection, so he knows, and that’s the most important thing.”