Marcus Rashford.

Rashford expecting a tactical tweak by City

Local lad Marcus Rashford believes the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford will be a completely different game to Manchester United's derby win at the Etihad Stadium last month.

The Reds blitzed City with a tremendous attacking display in the first half, with our top scorer on the mark again, from the penalty spot, before Anthony Martial doubled the lead. Although Nicolas Otamendi pulled one back late on, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men enjoyed a sweet victory against the current Premier League champions.

However, Rashford expects Blues boss Pep Guardiola to react to that defeat by altering his plans for the short trip across the city, something that United will be prepared for, despite the recent fixture congestion.

It is probably inevitable that the hosts will have to put in a real shift against a team that usually dominates possession, but the England international insists there will be no thoughts of fatigue entering the players' minds because the prize on offer is so special.

Winning silverware, as he did in this competition in 2017, is Marcus's primary focus as 2020 begins to unfold and, while he accepts it would have been nice to aim for being part of an all-Manchester final for the first time, beating the Blues over two legs is the aim, with Leicester City and Aston Villa battling it out in the other last-four tie.

“It’s two big games against City but we’re one step away from Wembley,” he told MUTV ahead of tonight's first leg [kick-off 20:00 GMT]. “That’s the objective for us. It’s an opportunity to win a trophy and we know what that means for the club, and for the players and staff as well. Hopefully, we can perform well and get results in these two games against them and progress on to win the tournament.

“It [the away win in December] gives us confidence but, to be honest, I don’t expect the game to be the same type of game as it was there. We could have been three or four goals up, so I expect them to change something. Maybe not personnel but formation. So we’ll see what they put in front of us and we have to find a way to beat them

“I think all the players are ready for these types of games. You prepare for them mentally and, sometimes, you just drag yourself through it physically. But, as long as we’re mentally ready for the game and approach it in the right manner, with the right mindset, we know we can do it.” 

Marcus Rashford warms up at Wolves.
Marcus is determined to win more silverware this season with United.

The semi-final draw paired the clubs together, as was the case in 2010, meaning we still await the first Manchester derby in a major final.

“No, you know, what a game that would have been, though, if we managed to play against them in a final!“ he admitted. ”The draw is the draw and we have to play them over two legs and have to beat them over two legs.”

United won the trophy in 2017, 3-2 against Southampton, when Rashford came on as a substitute, while City enjoyed success in the competition in the other three of the past four seasons. Indeed, the Blues are unbeaten in the League Cup since losing to a Juan Mata goal at Old Trafford in 2016.

Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.
Marcus won the League Cup in 2017, when the Reds defeated Southampton at Wembley.

Getting his hands on more silverware is of paramount importance to homegrown star Rashford.

“I always say that the highlight of your career, when you look back, they’re the stand-out moments,“ he explained. “To be honest, right now, we’d have any trophy. If we keep our mind on the fact that winning the league has obviously gone but we’re still heavily involved in every other competition, so we can potentially have three trophies come the end of the season.

“I just keep that at the forefront of my mind as the main aim and main objective of this season.”

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