Ten Hag backs Rashford to continue hot streak

Monday 26 December 2022 22:30

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is backing in-form Marcus Rashford to carry on his hot streak into the latter half of the 2022/23 campaign.

The England forward currently stands on 12 goals in all competitions in 25 appearances for the Reds this season. Rashford also finished joint-top scorer for his country at the World Cup alongside Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka with three goals, including a brace against Wales in the group stage.

United’s number 10 returned to club football on the right wing on Wednesday night against Burnley, and scored a superb solo effort, beating two Claret defenders before tucking the ball past goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to make it 2-0 and seal the victory for Ten Hag’s men.

Speaking at his press conference, Ten Hag had nothing but praise for Rashford, stating he has the potential to bag a significant tally of goals this season.

Part two: Ten Hag's pre-Forest press conference Video

Part two: Ten Hag's pre-Forest press conference

Press conference part two| Ten Hag discusses the Reds' progress, transfers plans and more...

“I don’t want to pin myself on a number,” said Ten Hag. “But I said from the start, I think he is capable to score 20 goals in the Premier League only so I am convinced about that. He now has four but he has scored many other goals. He scored three goals at the World Cup and you also have the potential to score those numbers of goals in the Premier League.”

There has been media speculation that United have been looking into buying a striker in the January transfer window. But when he was asked if he is looking to add to his forward line, Ten Hag praised the current young crop of talent at his disposal and reiterated his recent point that if he was to bring in another striker, the new signing would have to meet the club's “criteria.”

“I see that it is a good sign that we are fifth but we are aware that we have to score more goals.

“What I just tried to express is that we have to we have to improve on other elements in football. And as you see [against Burnley], we created so many opportunities and we have to be more decisive there. But you worry when you don’t create chances.

“So, I am really happy with the attacking performance that we created seven or eight 100-percent-chances, but is clear we have to score more.

“There are two things. One, a striker could come from our own club, see Garnacho, see Elanga, see Pellestri who made a good impression at the World Cup and also last week in the [behind closed doors] game against Everton. So that is first.

“And yes, we are aware that we lost a striker, so we do have to get a striker in. But it has to be the right one. And the right one has to bring the quality and not just add to the squad. Because that gives you only problems and you know the criteria is high at Manchester United.”

United’s goal tally in the Premier League this season currently stands at 20 from 10 different scorers, with Rashford leading the group on four strikes. When asked if the squad misses having a more prolific scorer, Ten Hag cited various absences among the forwards as a reason why nobody has yet been able to get into a consistent groove.

“No [we are not missing one] because when I analyse the first 14 games and Europe, so 20 games, we have had a lot of problems in the front line. Often, I had nothing to choose. Or players were not 100 per cent fit and we had to play them and that was a problem during the first 20 games this season.

“I think when we get players available and with better fitness in the frontline, then already we will score more goals.”