December 8, 2023

Manchester United: Marcus Rashford’s birthday party ‘unacceptable’ for Erik Ten Hag after derby defeat

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Manchester United coach Ten Hag backs ‘enthusiastic’ Rashford after criticism

Last Sunday night’s party was planned in advance, and attending the gathering did not prevent Rashford from arriving on time for training on Monday.

“I am aware of it and have spoken to him about it,” Ten Hag said.

“It’s unacceptable. I told him. He apologized and that’s it.”

Ten Hag was clearly unhappy with the sight of Rashford seen in one of Manchester’s most exclusive nightclubs when he had just been part of a dismal showing in the Premier League in which United ended up being comprehensively outplayed.

The manager refused to say whether the England international, who turned 26 on October 31, had been found, saying it was an internal matter.

This is not the first time Rashford has been reprimanded by Ten Hag.

On New Year’s Eve last year, he was put on the bench for United’s Premier League match against Wolves after being late to a team meeting. The striker then scored the winning goal after coming on the bench.

Image source, Getty Images

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Marcus Rashford was a substitute in Manchester United’s Carabao Cup loss to Newcastle on Wednesday

At a time when there is huge scrutiny on Ten Hag and his ability to motivate his team after United’s worst start to the season since 1962-63, Rashford’s behavior may suggest to some that the Dutchman’s message will not hit home.

However, Ten Hag denies this.

“Your suggestion is incorrect,” he said. “He’s very passionate about getting things right. He’s right there with us.”

“So he makes mistakes, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t adapt. I see him every day in training, what he does. I know that, and also off the field, how he lives.”

Rashford’s form is also worrying. After scoring a career-best 30 goals last season, he has only found the back of the net once so far for United this season, against Arsenal on 3 September.

It is reminiscent of his form two years ago, when Rashford scored just five goals.

Given that he signed a five-year contract extension in July, it’s not an ideal situation, but Ten Hag still trusts the striker to turn the situation around.

“He has to be as close as possible to the opponent’s goal because that’s where his qualities lie,” Ten Hag said.

“There, he is very important to us and will contribute a lot to our success and so we have to get him there, as a team and individually.

“He also has to get his timing and movements right to arrive [in front of goal] At the right moments. “I’m sure he will come back.”

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