Marcus Rashford has given an extensive interview analysing his game to Rio Ferdinand on YouTube.
The conversation, which included Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney, touched on attacking freedom.
Rashford said he found it hard to play his best football under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho because the attacking play was more static.
He says players were told to stay in their positions more often than they are now, and that didn’t suit his natural game.
When asked by Ferdinand if the flexibility and rotation of attacking play which United had during Rooney’s time at the club still exists, Rashford replied, “That’s when we play our best football.
“Under Jose, I’d say everything was a bit like ‘you play there, you play there, you play there’,” he said, gesticulating with his hands that meant the forwards stayed in their set positions.
“Yeah, you can do a job but it’s difficult… it was difficult for me to play my best football.”
Mourinho has a reputation as a defensive manager, and his methods have come across as outdated in his past three jobs – at Chelsea and Tottenham either side of United.
Rashford’s comments suggest there was little attacking freedom and there seemed to be no emphasis on co-ordinated movement.
It looked to be a case of getting four attacking players on the pitch in a 4-2-3-1, getting them to figure it out going forward and expecting the wingers to do big shifts getting back to track their men.
Louis van Gaal’s sides played expansive football earlier in his career, but when he came to United, he seemed to have an insistence on every player just staying in his position.
He felt that positional play would create space but United were so ponderous and lacking in attacking invention during his reign.
Solskjaer has created a more fluid frontline, with versatile forwards who like to rotate. That said, United always look better with Edinson Cavani as the focal point and the rest of the players working around that.
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