At today’s weekly rendezvous at Old Trafford with the interestingly-odoured representatives of the media, José Mourinho was eager to discuss “the ones that wake up in the morning and the first thing into their mind is José Mourinho and Manchester United.” The Portuguese humanitarian wiped away a tear as he said “I feel sorry for them because there are much more interesting things to wake up and to be happy [about] in the morning than to be speaking about us.” Which is certainly true, although Mourinho’s pity seemed misplaced when he went on to make it clear that the first thing he thought about when we woke up this morning was Jamie Carragher.
Carragher, of course, has also been doing plenty of thinking himself lately and has been known to share his thoughts in print, televisual or fluid form. Speaking in the wake of England’s two recent outings, the pundit expressed the view that Marcus Rashford should consider leaving United if he does not get more match time, an outburst that seems to have metaphorically drenched the face of the United manager. So Mourinho pitched up at today’s conference armed with a sheet-load of facts, which he proceeded to read aloud in a controlled manner that would be described as a maniacal rant if delivered by Rafa Benítez.
“On the season 16-17 Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 [Big Vase] matches, including the final, three FA Cup matches, six [Milk] Cup matches including the final and the Community Shield,” began Mourinho, who was merely warming up. “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 minutes of the matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 minutes in 16-17. In 17-18, he played 35 Premier League matches, eight in [Big Cup], five in FA Cup including the final, three [Worthington] Cup matches and the European Super Cup final. He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 minutes, if you divide that by 90, 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 speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.”
Still with us? Good, because here’s the best bit: “Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke,” zinged Mourinho. “Not Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Not Dominic Calvert-Lewin.” So there you have it, reader, proof that the international break can serve at least one purpose: the Special One’s got his mojo back!
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’ve had people like Marc Vivien-Foé die while playing. There have been too many others, including Cheick Tioté. The clubs and the federations have to be serious about giving check-ups to the players. What is to stop them doing them every three months? It is something I have been pushing and preaching because who knows, I might have been one of those who played football and died if my issue had not been found during my medical at Inter” – Kanu, Arsenal and Nigeria legend, talks to David Hytner about his foundation, which he says has helped to save 542 lives.
It’s the latest Football Weekly Extraaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
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BITS AND BOBS
It’s been going well for Maurizio Sarri so far at Chelsea, but he’s thrown a spanner into his own works by suggesting he’s open to the possibility of John Terry returning to the club as a coach.
Release clause? What release clause? There’s no Kevin De Bruyne release clause here? Pep Guardiola has denied reports that you can buy one v talented Belgian for £223m.
Remember tapping up? The thing that people briefly care about once every few years? Watford are the latest to do that, getting the Premier League to check out whether there was anything naughty about the way Everton recruited Marco Silva.
Watford midfielder Abdoulaye Doucouré has raised the startling possibility that Paul Pogba might like a bit of attention. Nice guy though, apparently.
STILL WANT MORE?
The international break is over! Hurrah! Here’s 10 shiny Premier League things to celebrate.
Heard the one about the fan who skipped his stag do to play for Dundee? Let Grant Hill reveal all.
Quiz of the week, featuring tutus, Old Trafford and George Weah at 51.
Are Real Madrid ready to plump for Neymar or Eden Hazard? That and more in today’s Mill.
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