Man Utd's Marcus Rashford will return a better player next season, says Jose Mourinho
By Nick Lustig
Last Updated: 13/03/17 7:57am
Jose Mourinho expects Marcus Rashford to recapture his very best form for Manchester United next season after a "very difficult" second campaign in the spotlight.
Rashford burst onto the scene last season under the management of Louis van Gaal and netted eight goals in his first 18 matches for the club.
The 19-year-old scored on his England debut last May and went on to feature at Euro 2016 following his breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford, but has since struggled to find the same consistent goalscoring form under Mourinho.
Rashford has netted just seven times in 36 appearances for United this season and has often been deployed in a wide role by Mourinho.
"I knew that it would be a very difficult season for him after the season of the surprise," the Portuguese said of Rashford, who is set to miss United's FA Cup quarter-final clash against Chelsea on Monday due to illness.
"The season without pressure, the season where nobody demands, that nobody knows him, he comes in and makes an impact, he feels free. He is just a kid that is enjoying his football.
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"The second season was always going to be a difficult one.
"I think the third season is going to be the good one again. The third season is one with more maturity, he can build on his experiences so I am sure the third season will be better than the second.
"The second season is the difficult one. It's the pressure, it's the people that knows him, it's the expectation.
"Is he a national team player? Is he in the line-up for the club? Should he go to the Euro 21 [European Under-21 Championship] or no? Having all these things around him doesn't give him an easy season, but he is a good kid, a good humble boy, he tries to learn with every experience.
"We had a nice conversation where he told that even in the dressing room at half-time he learns, so he is a good kid with a good mentality and now we have three matches without Zlatan (Ibrahimovic)."