Stewart Lee once caustically remarked that we all grow up to be the person we hated when we were younger, and it applies this morning to Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho has long-since detested Rafael Benitez, but his press conference this morning had more than a faint whiff of Benitez' infamous 'facts' diatribe in 2009. Benitez, if you remember, chose a press conference before a Premier League game away to Stoke listed off all of the things Alex Ferguson and Man United had been getting away with. It seemed to backfire on Benitez: Liverpool drew that game 0-0 and Steve Gerrard - who hit the post late in that game - would later question Benitez' timing.
Jose rocked up to this morning's press conference with a prepared list of stats regarding Marcus Rashford's involvement, following a discussion on Sky Sports after England's win over Switzerland that Rashford would be best off leaving Old Trafford in search of regular first-team action as a striker.
Mourinho said that he reckons he will be criticised for not playing Rashford this weekend although his striker is suspended, drawing no what he called an "obsession" from pundits who "have a problem with compulsive lies". He then read off a prepared list of stats accentuating Rashford's minutes played.
If you don't mind to lose a couple of minutes, I'm going to do something not for you but the United fans and I think I hold myself to the United fans and for them I am going to spend two minutes with you."
2016-17: Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 Europa League matches, including the final, three FA Cup matches, six League Cup matches, including the final, and the Community Shield. He had 53 appearances but if you want to take to the minutes of play, he played 3068 and if you want to divide that by 90-minute matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90-minute matches in 2016-17.
In 2017-18, 35 Premier League matches, eight in Champions League, five in FA Cup, three League 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, gives 29.7 matches, so with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5774 minutes, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals, so the people that is speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.
Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke, not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, not Dominic Calvert-Lewin, is Marcus Rashford, Manchester United player, with an incredible number of appearances and an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level in the best possible competitions, so Manchester United supporters, for you and just for you, to know what we are doing with Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, that's what we are doing here.
Mourinho also continued his strange, Trumpesque berating of the media, accusing them of lies. "Media is very important and is very important Manchester United supporters know the truth, that's why I'm going so specific about these numbers".
The issue, however, with Rashford, is not that he isn't playing at all - he evidently is - but it is his position. Romoelu Lukaku is indisputably the first-choice central striker, and Rashford often struggles when he is accommodated on the right of United's attack.