Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has challenged Marcus Rashford to keep adding to his goalscoring tally for the campaign after he brought up 20 for the season on Wednesday night.
Manchester United’s no.10 reached the personal marker for the third time in the last four seasons, against Leeds in midweek, when he headed in the Red Devil’s first goal of the evening.
The effort sparked a comeback effort from two goals down, with the Reds going on to draw 2-2 and share the points with Leeds at Old Trafford.
Ahead of this afternoon’s return meeting at Elland Road, and our next outing, Ten Hag has expressed his desire for Marcus to keep growing that number in 2022/23, and says he hopes to see the forward challenge himself to hit new heights in his career over the coming months.
“[There is] much more to come [from Marcus] and we have months to play, important months,” Erik explained in his matchday Q&A, when discussing Rashford, whose previous season-high goal tally is 22.
“We have to get into a position where we can win trophies, till now, where we are, Marcus has a big impact in this season.
“I remember at the start of the season, I was questioning can he score 20 goals, now he has that marker, he has scored 20 goals, but now it’s about getting more.
“He has to challenge himself to get 30 or 35, but most focus has to be on the next goal and if you be in that focus, you will see where you end up. But most important, finally, is that we win as a team.”
Those comments on Rashford feature in the boss’ pre-match interview with club media, which you can see in full below, and also includes discussion on our action-packed schedule, going up against the Yorkshiremen again and more…
Erik, it’s another quick turnaround before our next game, something we’ve become used to, but in terms of recovery, it’s such an important part of modern-day football and is it even more important with the number of games we’re playing at the moment?
“Yes, sure. It’s like, this moment for the players, it’s all about recovery, recovery sessions, sleep, food and prepare for the next game. This is the rhythm we are in, and players like to do, play football games, it betters training, so in this moment we are happy to do it.”
And do you hope to have any more players back for Sunday, or expect it to be the same group from Wednesday night?
“I expect this squad is the same, except I hope Aaron Wan-Bissaka can return. Yesterday (Wednesday) he wasn’t there by illness, so I hope he can return for Sunday.”
Marcus has hit 20 goals now this season, how much more do you think he can achieve this season, not just in terms of goals but his overall play?
“[There is] much more to come and we have months to play, important months. We have to get into a position where we can win trophies, till now, where we are, Marcus has a big impact in this season. I remember at the start of the season, I was questioning can he score 20 goals, now he has that marker, he has scored 20 goals, but now it’s about getting more. He has to challenge himself to get 30 or 35, but most focus has to be on the next goal and if you be in that focus, you will see where you end up. But most important, finally, is that we win as a team.”
Does the midweek game against Leeds give you some indication as to what to expect from them on Sunday?
“Yeah, we have seen yesterday, different management there, so a little bit of a different approach. I don’t think from the style we could expect that, especially [because] of the rivalry who was there [previously]. Sunday, is the same I think even more, it will be even more energetic but we have to prepare for that and do it better than we did in each half yesterday. I think when we cope with that, we have a good chance to win that game.”
This will be your first taste of the clash at Elland Road, an atmosphere that I think you always relish, how much are you looking forward to that?
“Oh, really [a lot]. I like such atmospheres. It really motivates me and inspires me. I think the players do as well. They like to play such games where there’s a lot going on, it’s about winning games. [It’s] a really big challenge, a big rivalry, two teams who are close with each other and that game is one you definitely want to win.”
As you say, it was disappointing the way we started both halves on Wednesday night, but how impressed were you with the team spirit and the way the team rallied to come back?
“Good question, definitely. You see this team has character, you see this team has personality and you need that spirit to make a comeback. That resilience, I really like it, that mentality, we have to keep that, but better is to avoid it, to score the first goal.”
Finally, we saw Facundo [Pellistri] come on for his Premier League debut, Jadon [Sancho] made an impact with his goal, Victor [Lindelof] came on and brought his experience – does that once again show the importance of every member of the squad?
“Yeah, we have a squad, you need that squad. You see several players dropped out, but even then, we can have a result. Not a result we expected on the forehand, but if you are 2-0 down and you still have a draw, that’s a good performance. We have to keep that in mind and do things better to start.”
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