Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment as Manchester United interim boss has helped a number of rediscover their best form, none more so than Marcus Rashford.
Mourinho often used Rashford out wide for United, but the England international has shone as a central striker following the Portuguese’s sacking in December.
We’ve compared some of Rashford’s stats under Solskjaer to those he recorded under Mourinho earlier in the season.
Mourinho could be critical of Rashford’s finishing but suggested at the start of December that the ability to put the ball in the back of the net is “not about work. It’s about natural qualities”.
Solskjaer, a predatory goalscorer himself as a player, took a vastly different line, arguing: “If you work at it in training sessions then you will just do it naturally during the game. The one way of getting better is by practising – on and off the pitch.”
And the difference in Rashford’s productivity under the Norwegian is there for all to see.
In 20 appearances under Mourinho this term totalling 1,242 minutes, Rashford scored four goals and provided five assists – a record of a goal or assist every 138 minutes.
In seven matches under Solskjaer, the forward has already bettered that goal tally with five. While he has provided just one assist, his record is still much improved at a goal or assist every 88.66 minutes.
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To look at some of the finer details of Rashford’s game, we’ve taken a look at his final three starts in the Premier League under Mourinho – against Liverpool, Fulham and Arsenal – and compared them to his most recent three under Solskjaer – against Brighton, Tottenham and Newcastle United.
It is immediately noticeable that Rashford is attempting far more shots under Solskjaer, which goes some way to explaining his increase in goals. In those last three games under Mourinho, the 21-year-old took nine shots, compared to 16 in three games under the new manager.
He has completed marginally more dribbles in the fixtures under Solskjaer (six to five), while he has also tightened up his passing, completing on average 87.4% of his passes in comparison to 78.1% in those final games with Mourinho at the helm.
The burden of creativity seems to have been lifted somewhat. Whereas he created five chances for team-mates with Mourinho in the dugout, that has fallen to just two under Solskjaer, with Rashford now more focused on getting on the end of things.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 18, 2019
While Mourinho famously has high demands of his attackers off the ball, there has only been a slight drop in Rashford’s defensive productivity.
He has failed to make an interception in the fixtures under either manager, while he has made just one fewer tackle (three to two) and clearance (two to one) under Solskjaer.