Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has critiqued Jose Mourinho’s tactics while he was manager at Old Trafford and said their style lacked flexibility under ‘The Special One.’
Mourinho—who will take charge of Roma next season after he was sacked by Tottenham—won two titles in two-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, clinching the Europa League and League Cup in 2017.
United are enjoying greater success under Mourinho’s successor, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The club will again feature in the Europa League final this season and recently secured back-to-back top-four finishes in the Premier League for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.
Rashford, 23, spoke to Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand during an appearance on BT Sport’s Between The Lines, where he touched on Mourinho’s tactics: "I think that's when we play our best football (when we can be flexible).
"Under Jose I would say everything was a bit (points) 'you play there, you play there, you play there.’
"And yeah, you can do a job, but it was difficult for me to play my best football."
Mourinho has cultivated a reputation for encouraging his teams to ‘park the bus,’ a reference to his priorities on not conceding first and foremost.
That strategy worked to some extent given United conceded only 57 Premier League goals during Mourinho’s two full seasons in charge at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese also succeeded in guiding the club to second in the league during the 2017/18 campaign, their highest finish since Ferguson retired in 2013.
Solskjaer is on course to match that feat this season, while United have a glimmer of hope in catching champions-elect Manchester City, who are 10 points in front.
Rooney—who recently secured Derby County’s Championship survival in his first season as a senior manager—also shared memories of Mourinho’s defensive ways: "I remember a Chelsea game, I was on the bench. Marcus kept me out the team!
"I remember he (Jose) played a back SIX.
"And I remember thinking, 'Jose's put Marcus up top on his own. Unless he runs in behind, Chelsea and David Luiz, with all that experience, if he comes to feet we're in trouble.'"
The Red Devils have scored 67 times in 34 league outings so far this term and are on course for their highest goal tally since the Ferguson era.
Whereas Mourinho was often portrayed as a divisive dressing-room figure, former United star Solskjaer has been welcomed as an empathetic character towards his players.
Rashford has scored 20 goals in back-to-back seasons for the first time in his career and requires just three more finishes to beat last season’s career best of 22 in a single campaign.
United host Leicester on Tuesday hoping to close the gap on leaders City, their second of three Premier League outings across a five-day window.
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