Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was full of praise for Marcus Rashford following his man of the match performance against Barcelona in the Europa League.
The Red Devils dominated the proceedings in the opening half at the Camp Nou yesterday but it was Barcelona, who broke the deadlock through Marcos Alonso in the 50th minute.
However, their lead was short-lived with United striking back immediately through Rashford. The England star produced a fierce shot which beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen at his near post from an acute angle.
Seven minutes later, the Red Devils graduate was largely responsible for the club’s second goal. His accurate cross in the six-yard box paved the way for Jules Kounde’s own goal.
Raphinha managed to pull Barcelona level towards the end but United will be delighted with the result, considering they could have easily won by two or three goals on another day.
No player in Europe's top 5 leagues has scored more goals than Marcus Rashford (13) since the World Cup ended.
Most in-form player in the world? ✨ pic.twitter.com/DayP8kEiDn
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 16, 2023
Rashford had a shot brilliantly saved by Ter Stegen in the opening half while Wout Weghorst was guilty of squandering a wonderful scoring chance with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Speaking after the game, Ten Hag was delighted with Rashford’s stand-out performance and acknowledged that he is ‘so unstoppable’ with his high belief for scoring goals.
He told Manutd.com: “He is so unstoppable at this moment, such a high belief for scoring goals, which we are happy with of course. But credit to the team as they get him every time in the right position.”
The Dutch tactician added that United are not over-reliant on Rashford but admitted the club should have scored more with the chances that were on offer at the Camp Nou.
He added: “As I said before, we have other players who can score – Bruno, Jadon can score as well. Wout, of course, and they will score.”
“In the end, it doesn’t matter who scores but we have to score, as you say, in such a game when you create five, six or seven 100 per cent chances. You have to finish them more than that so it’s quite clear.”
Rashford makes the difference at Camp Nou
Rashford has been in stellar form following the World Cup. He has now made 30 goal contributions for United this season including 22 goals.
He has already matched his best-ever goal tally for a single campaign and United fans will be hoping that he can continue the sublime run.
United took the game to Barcelona in the first leg of the Europa League knockout play-off and they should be favourites next week.
The Red Devils have won 13 of their last 14 games at Old Trafford and should fancy their chances of beating Barcelona in six days’ time.
In our view, Rashford will be pivotal in the second leg again. The England star is in the form of his life and can’t stop scoring at the moment.
The £49 million-rated star is obviously beaming with confidence and should enjoy playing against Barcelona’s defensive highline.
Jules Kounde should have been sent off for his poor last-man challenge on Rashford yesterday, but the referee and VAR saw a different view.