MANCHESTER, England — After scoring the winner within the 189th Manchester Derby, Marcus Rashford stayed on the Old Trafford pitch to fulfil his postmatch media duties. That achieved, he saluted the Manchester United followers who had stayed behind to rejoice the 2-1 comeback win over Manchester City within the Stretford End and was greeted with a rendition of his track: “Like Manchester, Rashford is red.”
The terrace chant has been heard quite a bit just lately as Rashford has gone on one of the best goal-scoring run of his profession. His close-range end previous Ederson within the 82nd minute towards City stretched his streak to at the least one purpose in seven straight video games. The final time he performed at Old Trafford and did not discover the online was towards Tottenham on Oct. 19.
Rashford is a participant revitalised beneath supervisor Erik ten Hag, after the Dutchman inherited a ahead who had scored simply 5 occasions in 32 video games within the 2021-22 league marketing campaign. To put that into context, the 25-year-old has already scored 5 targets in 2023 and the 12 months is simply 14 days outdated.
Saturday’s win moved United to inside some extent of second-place City (six behind Arsenal) and if which means Ten Hag’s crew are real title challengers, how lengthy the tag lasts will rely, partially, on how lengthy Rashford retains scoring. New mortgage striker Wout Weghorst, signed on Friday, watched the derby from the administrators field and the hope is that the Dutchman will probably be a precious possibility within the second half of the season.
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Nonetheless there are query marks about whether or not there may be sufficient firepower within the squad to proceed the push in 4 competitions. Cristiano Ronaldo has gone and there’s no date for Jadon Sancho’s return to motion following a spell away to handle his dip in type. Anthony Martial needed to cross a health check earlier than being picked to begin towards City however lasted simply 45 minutes and was substituted at half-time. Teenager Alejandro Garnacho helped change the sport when he was launched within the 72nd minute however past that, the one different attacking possibility on the bench was Anthony Elanga, who hasn’t scored all season.
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Speaking after Saturday’s win, Ten Hag was grateful to Rashford for carrying on regardless of showing to undergo a groin harm in the direction of the top of the primary half. After chasing City defender Kyle Walker into the nook, he fell to the ground whereas his holding the highest of his left leg and slammed his palms down onto the turf in frustration. When Antony got here out to heat up at half-time, the idea was the Brazilian winger would change Rashford, however as a substitute it was Martial who got here off.
For Ten Hag, it was a sequence that pointed to Rashford’s new-found resilience and he was rewarded with a key position within the comeback. While many will debate whether or not the striker interfered with play in Bruno Fernandes’ purpose to make it 1-1, the purpose stood and, minutes later, he had his fifth derby purpose to seal the win. It additionally stated quite a bit that Rashford was in the fitting place to attain the winner from Garnacho’s cross regardless of lacking two good probabilities within the the primary half, one cleared off the road by Walker.
“He knows that in top football you have to suffer and sacrifice,” Ten Hag stated. “You have your painful moments, especially a player like he is, he’s unstoppable. Opponents will go tough against him to stop, but you have to deal with it. I think he is capable of it. He keeps going and keeps focusing on his chances. In the end he got rewarded and the team got rewarded.”
When United have been at their coaching camp in Spain throughout the break for the World Cup, Ten Hag felt emboldened to match Rashford to Paris Saint-Germain ahead Kylian Mbappe in fashion. It was a giant assertion from the United supervisor however after eight targets in seven video games throughout all competitions, it is not trying that outlandish.
The level Ten Hag was making an attempt to make was that whereas Rashford has at all times had the bodily and technical attributes to be thought of among the many finest on the earth, it is consistency that units the aside the actually prime gamers. He has discovered it since coming back from Qatar and appears just like the participant United followers hoped he would change into when he burst onto the scene as an 18-year-old in 2016. If he carries on scoring, not solely will he cross his earlier finest tally for a season of twenty-two — his purpose towards City was his sixteenth throughout all competitions — however he may also encourage extra comparisons with the likes of Mbappe.
Ten Hag wants Rashford to keep up his type for lengthy sufficient to permit him to mattress in Weghorst and get Martial again to full health in any other case the progress being made may very well be hampered by a scarcity of innovative.
Rashford’s targets have propelled United into title competition and obtained followers dreaming of a primary Premier League title since 2013. His newest effort was sufficient to make sure a primary derby win at Old Trafford since 2020 and again up the mantra that, like Rashford, Manchester is purple.