Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has revealed that former manager Jose Mourinho taught him to be ‘more savvy’ in the penalty area so that he is more likely to win a penalty if he is fouled by giving the referee no doubt.
A player who tries to stay on their feet when fouled in the box can end up disadvantaged and not getting the decision because a foul is not always as clear. But Rashford is also adamant that United do not go out looking for penalties or are awarded more than they deserve.
“When you are making runs in behind or 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,” he said on Thursday night as he accepted the Football Writers’ Association 2021 Tribute Award.
“There is no way you are going to let somebody take the ball off you, so for me it is a case of us wanting to score goals and the teams wanting to defend goals and penalties can happen. There have been times when we have probably not got penalties.
“When Jose [Mourinho] was manager, there were five or six times where I should have had a penalty and Jose ended up saying to me, ‘If you are not savvy about the way you do it, then you are not going to [get] it.’ After that, we started to get a few penalties.
“It was something, in terms of development, you have to learn and understand.”
Jurgen Klopp recently made a pointed jibe that United have had more penalties since 2018 than Liverpool have had in his entire time at the club. That is true, but this season alone United have had only one more in the Premier League and both have scored five. It is actually Leicester that have been awarded far more than anyone else – 10 so far, scoring eight.
Liverpool have also benefitted more from penalties, taken seven additional points as a direct result of scoring from the spot. United over the same period have taken six additional points.