Erik ten Hag has urged Marcus Rashford to continue his World Cup form now that Manchester United have resumed their domestic campaign.
Rashford scored a clinical solo goal as United beat Burnley 2-0 in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Wednesday — his first game since returning from England duty — to advance to the quarterfinals.
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The 25-year-old scored three times in Qatar and Ten Hag is hopeful the forward is at the beginning of a purple patch.
« I think he is on a very good level, » Ten Hag told a news conference on Wednesday. « His performances are improving a lot from game to game and I hope and expect him to keep going with his performance level.
« I think he invested a lot with runs behind the defending line and he scored a great goal with the dribble and a great finish, I think he is in great form and I hope he can keep his focus and performances. »
Rashford was one of five players picked by Ten Hag to face Championship side Burnley along with Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen and Tyrell Malacia despite only recently returning from the World Cup.
« You never know and it’s always difficult after an international break, » Ten Hag added. « Especially five weeks of not playing together — this team never played together today — but they played with our principles.
« We also created good chances for them so we have to step up and we have to do better. »
Before Rashford’s individual effort, Eriksen scored the first after a cross from Aaron Wan-Bissaka. It was Wan-Bissaka’s first start of the season after slipping behind Diogo Dalot in the pecking order, but Ten Hag insists the former Crystal Palace can still play apart at Old Trafford despite talk of a January move to Wolves or West Ham United.
« It’s clear he has a future, » Ten Hag said. « He had some good years, but this season from the start he had a lot of illnesses and injuries.
« His fitness levels are getting better, his performance levels are getting better and the assist, especially the way he gave the assist, in the right moment and timing, I’m happy with his performance. »