Marcus Rashford might not be particularly happy with Jose Mourinho's latest comments
With normal time elapsed and an incessant rain battering down at the KCOM Stadium, it so seemed that the unpicking of an admirably obdurate Hull rear guard was beyond Manchester United, and that Jose Mourinho would soon be explaining why his pristine record was no longer intact.
Having found himself jettisoned out onto the left flank for the denouement of a match he hitherto failed to make any meaningful impact in, Wayne Rooney skipped to the bi-line before unloading a sumptuous delivery across the Hull goalmouth and Marcus Rashford, timing his run amidst the scattered phalanx of Hull defenders to perfection, slotted home arguably the most important goal of his fledgling career.
Pursued by his elated teammates, the 18-year-old used the sodden turf to great affect as he slid joyously in celebration of his 12th goal at senior level.
It not only maintained United’s 100pc start to this nascent Premier League campaign, but duly reminded the new England manager, Sam Allardyce, the potential folly of allowing him to join up with the U21 set up this week as supposed to the transitioning senor squad.
To that point, Rashford had not appeared in the Premier League under Mourinho who, to be fair, preferred the red-hot Zlatan Ibrahimović, in light of the towering Swede registering in all three of his competitive games to date.
Allardyce had cited the teenager’s lack of competitive game time for the omission and, as the drama unfolded in Hull yesterday, social media came alive with those urging Mourinho to introduce Rashford, which he did in the 71st minute.
Indeed, there was similar clamouring to call on Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who, strangely, has had to make do with a place on the bench since the Community Shield win over Leicester.
He replaced the currently out of sorts Anthony Martial at the hour mark and, in tandem with Rashford, imbued United with a desperately needed dose of brio and craft.
Asked about Rashford post match, Jose Mourinho was effusive in his praise of the youngster, but insisted that his intervention will not compel him to radically alter selection policy, while all but declaring that his attack will be built around Ibrahimović for the foreseeable future.
"I have to analyse. The important thing is that he's working very well. He's 18-years-old."
Mourinho added: "We are starting matches with a second man behind Zlatan, (but) we can start some matches with the player in front of Zlatan, so the kid is going to play a lot of matches for sure."
However, the Portuguese acknowledged Rashford’s meteoric rise as a pivotal boon for the club and the different dynamic he offers to his more established colleagues, namely unbridled pace. When the forthcoming international break is concluded, Mourinho plans to reassess his options.
"He's very good," Mourinho said. "I know that he's very good since last season, but working with him every day I think the same.
"The two matches we were needing a winning goal against Leicester and tonight. He came on and gave us diversity in our football.
"He's different than (Wayne) Rooney, he's different than Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), so everybody is happy with him and we're happy with the squad."
"I have two weeks before the next match, I have to analyse the opponent and see the way my boys are coming back from the international games," Mourinho said.
Interestingly, United’s next Premier League clash is against Manchester City on September 10 at Old Trafford. The derby will mark the resumption of rivalries between Mourinho and his greatest rival, Pep Guardiola.
Additional reporting by PA