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Rashford 'deceived the referee' to win penalty

Premier League

LONDON - Swansea boss Paul Clement has accused Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford of tricking the referee to win a penalty at Old Trafford on Sunday.

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Manchester United's Marcus Rashford is brought down by Swansea City's Lukasz Fabianski for a penalty. Photo: Reuters / Jason CairnduffSwansea manager Paul Clement insists it was a dive. Photo: Reuters / Jason Cairnduff

The United striker was already going down before he made slight contact with goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, but Neil Swarbrick pointed to the spot and Wayne Rooney converted.

"I’ve seen the replay and the player has deceived the referee," said Clement. "It’s clear, there’s no other way to look at it.

"You could say he’s dangled a leg to get the contact, but he’s down before there’s any kind of contact. The keeper pulled out of it.

"I’m not saying (Rashford is a) cheat. I’m saying deceived. It’s the word I’ve chosen. I would use cheat another time. On this occasion I’m saying he deceived him.

"You want players to be honest and give their best and play hard, but not to do those kind of things. Lukasz was furious. He said, 'I’ve gone down to get hands on the ball, I can see I can’t get it and I’ve come away from it, but he’s gone down before the contact'."

Rashford insisted there was contact with Fabianski, but United boss Jose Mourinho claimed that he did not see the incident.

"I don’t have a view because I didn’t watch, and I have Marcus’s opinion and he said that the keeper touched him," Mourinho said.

It was another frustrating day for Mourinho, even though his United side extended their unbeaten Premier League run to a club record 25 games.

A chance to move into the top four was wasted with Swansea joining Hull, Bournemouth, Burnley, West Ham and Stoke in taking a point from Old Trafford. It was a deserved point, too. That record unbeaten run (in a single top-flight season) now includes 12 draws, nine of them at home.

Swansea could even have snatched victory in added time but Llorente fluffed his effort. So United stay outside the top four and Swansea inside the bottom three, albeit with a valuable point in their battle for survival.

To add to Mourinho’s problems, Bailly and Luke Shaw limped off with what appeared to be ankle injuries, the latter inside seven minutes. 

"Shaw’s must be a big injury because to leave the pitch after 10 minutes I am expecting a very big injury," said Mourinho. "Maybe Eric’s relates to playing 800 minutes of football in April."

Both defenders are set to miss Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first leg against Celta Vigo in Spain, as are Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. At least Paul Pogba should return and Juan Mata made the bench on Sunday.

"I prefer not to speak about Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, I prefer to speak about Juan Mata giving everything to be available. I am grateful for that," said Mourinho, who retained enough humour to warm up himself at one point.

But his frustration at the gruelling fixture schedule — this was United’s 57th game of the season compared to Swansea’s 38th — and persistent injuries has been palpable in recent weeks. Even the fans were not exempt from it.

"We are exhausted," said Mourinho. "Did the supporters know it? Because if they did they would be more supportive of the players."

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