Jose Mourinho has told Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer how to get the best out of Marcus Rashford.
And it’s not by playing him in his preferred position of centre forward.
Anthony Martial was ruled out of the London Stadium clash through injury, while Europa League goal hero Mason Greenwood had flu – so United will be hoping for a rapid return for Rashford.
Former United boss Mourinho hailed Rashford as a “dangerous” No9, and recalled how he trusted him to spearhead the attack in United’s 2017 Europa League final triumph over Ajax, when the striker was just 19 years old.
But the Portuguese said Rashford can be even better playing from the left flank, in the same position that Sadio Mane plays for Premier League leaders Liverpool .
Speaking as a pundit on Sky Sports, Mourinho said: “The most important match of my period was the Europa League final. He [Rashford] was my No9.
“He can be a No9, he can be dangerous.
“But when United plays against teams that go to Old Trafford and ‘park the bus’ he is not a striker to play with his back to goal.
“From the side, he would get 10-12 goals per season. He works for the team from a defensive point of view.
“Playing from the left, from a Mane position, he can be a better player than as a No9.
“He feels he is a No9 and the club and manager feel that.”
Mourinho suggested Solskjaer should possibly have pushed the United board for a new striker this summer when it became clear Lukaku was set to join Inter Milan.
The arrival of a new centre-forward would, of course, allow Rashford to play in the position Mourinho envisages or the youngster.
Mourinho said: “The decision was made. When Lukaku goes, and you don’t replace him, it is because Rashford and Martial are the main strikers.
“I have never been politically correct. When I am not happy, I say. I put myself into a difficult situation by crying about a central defender.
“Ole didn’t about a striker. I want to believe the decision was made to trust Rashford and Martial.”